Black Art Speaks

By: Christen Collins

Image Credit: Black Art Speaks

Black Art Speaks

Black Art Speaks Cincinnati Artist Collective is a group of innovators working together to create positive changes that influence the course of the future and are making big differences in the community. They’re a non-profit membership that promotes and celebrates the beauty and history of black culture. These incredible artists have stepped into their roles as leaders to share their voices through the power of creativity that is collaboratively offering more opportunities to engage in expression that is meaningful and impactful.

Photo by: Austin Neal

BAS supports, fosters, and convenes Black Artists and arts and cultural organizations by creating and connecting direct funding opportunities to employ Black Artists, coordinating and seeking exhibition opportunities, providing professional development to expand business acumen, providing mentoring, educational and programming services.” – Black Art Speaks

Photos by: Black Art Speaks

The collective orchestrated and created the profound mural that interprets and proclaims with pride the words BLACK LIVES MATTER. Inspiration sparked from the visionary and creator, Alandes Powell’s poem, “We Want What You Want” “Finding Voice Through Art”. The project was organized by 17 managers that included 70 artists and designers to bring the words to life by painting different significant depictions in each letter. This impressive and prolific mural in Downtown Cincinnati, right in front of City Hall on Plum Street.

Photos by: Christen Collins

There are a variety of ways to join their team, by becoming a member, volunteering, and applying for different call to artist projects to participate in. They recently partnered up with Ziegler Park to bring more art to the area with several murals in the expansion of the park that are interactive, informative, and fun. Showing the influence that art and education has on the community by including people in taking action to create a better environment for everyone to enjoy and thrive in.

Art by: Adoria Maxberry

Photos by: Christen Collins

Black Art Speaks Artist Collective has and continues to make huge contributions to social practice in Cincinnati that is truly inspiring and admirable. Focusing on raising awareness and acceptance by supporting others through solidarity and providing hope for equality and peace. For more information on how to get involved, donate to the cause, and show gratitude for this amazing group of creatives visit their online platforms and their paintings in person!

Spooky Halloween Art in Cincinnati

By Christen Collins

Photo by: Christen Collins

Location: OTR

Cincinnati is the best place to experience the holidays all around the year, but Halloween is especially spooky here with the haunted stories that come from the historic past of the city.  But have no fear!  It’s all about celebrating life, having fun, and being creative!  

From galleries to local shops, events, parties, craft fairs, markets, workshops, shows and more, Cincinnati has everything you can think of that incorporates a theme of the holiday.   

We also have some of the best designed haunted houses and decorated homes throughout each neighborhood. There’s something for everyone and you can see the art that goes into transforming Cincinnati into a thrilling Halloween city of wonders! 

Photo Credit: Cappel’s 

Don’t know what you want your Halloween costume to be or need decorations for a party? Don’t freak out! Family owned Costume and Party Supply Store Cappiel’s has everything you need with hundreds of selections!

A group of kids in clothing

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Photo Credit: Contemporary Arts Center

Get into the spirit of the holiday with your kids by going to places that offer arts and crafts like the Art Play: Halloween Party at the Contemporary Arts Center on Thursday, October 26th from 10:30am – 11:30am. Dress up, create your own “scary” artwork, and eat all the candy you can!

Photo Credit: Cincinnati Zoo

HallZooween is back again at the Cincinnati Zoo and “BOO”-tanical Gardens and is always a spectacular time!  The Zoo gets in the Halloween spirit by giving the animals pumpkin treats and candy treats to the kiddos!  

Image Credit: Cincinnati Museum Center

On Weekends at the Cincinnati Museum Center “scare  up some fun” by dressing up in costumes and party at the “BOO!seum.  There’s a Monster Mash, Costume Parade, Science Experiments and more!

Photo Credit: Christen Collins

Location: Westside

Going out trick-or-treating isn’t just exciting for all the candy you get but also for the awesome decorations that people go all out with on their homes and in their yards. They’re quirky and scary but great entertainment for the whole family!

The Know Theatre an “Artists Playground”

The Know Theatre is one of the best places to see amazing shows and get involved in the performing arts community in Cincinnati for people of all ages.  They’re also recognized for the featured murals on and near their building.  So next time you’re going to an event at the theater or just in the area, take a walk around to discover several incredible wall pieces that are perfect to take pictures of or with!

“Our goal is to create an artistic playground where artists and audiences can come together to produce and experience work that could not be done anywhere else.” – The Know Theatre

The theater is located in OTR at 1120 Jackson Street, down a block from the Art Academy of Cincinnati.  On the AAC building and in nearby parking lots there are more murals that are just steps away!  

“We want to create a community that includes artists and audience, volunteers, and staff, as well as random passersby who just stop in to say “hello.” – The Know Theatre 

Photos by: Christen Collins

Right across from the Academy are two murals in the parking lot of the theater that are delightful to experience and promote positivity.  The first is known as “Lookin Good” by XYLENE and is painted on the wall of the Know Theatre. This giant painting looks like a glowing neon sign and has an awesome message for everyone to enjoy and feel good about!

Photos by: Christen Collins

The second mural is brought to life for the public by ArtWorks and their team of creatives titled, “Ice Cream Daydream” which is a colorful look into the wonderful world of imagination.  It’s cute, it’s quirk, and will surely make you smile! 

“This fantastical mural brings youthful energy and vibrancy to the district of Over-the-Rhine.” 


Photo by: Christen Collins

On the other side of the building is another parking lot between Jackson and Walnut Street with more huge murals. These works of art are two separate murals that you can’t miss!  One of the murals is a huge happy cat called, “Crazy Cat, Crazy Quilt”, that was also made by ArtWorks. This piece is inspired by the great Edie Harper who attended the Art Academy of Cincinnati when it was in Eden Park at the Cincinnati Art Museum. 

“Sometimes an idea is triggered by a title and its fun-potential.” 

  • Edie Harper 
  • Charley Harper Art Studio

On the south side wall of the theater is a stellar mural that has a surrealist vibe that sends Cincinnati into a dimension that is wacky and wild!  XYLENE creates an alternative universe where aliens have taken over the city!  Spend some time scanning over the painting searching for some of the local wonders and landmarks that appear throughout the piece.  

The Know Theatre is currently playing the sci-fi – dark- comedy, “Sleeping Giant” and is one of the venues for the Cincy Fringe Festival every year.  For more information on their latest showings and events check out their website and follow them on social media to stay up to date on all the exciting new things that are happening in the creative community!

The Art of Shopping

Cincinnati has many wonderful artisan shops and boutiques throughout the area that feature unique handcrafted pieces that are decorative and functional. Support local artists and small businesses by shopping at thoughtfully crafted stores that highlight creativity in the community.

Peddler’s Mall

This impressive store is the perfect place to take a step into nostalgia with its wide variety of items that make you feel like you’re on an adventure discovering rare and beautiful pieces that are from the past.

“Whether you are looking for retro clothing, repurposed furniture, antique decor, vintage memorabilia… Peddlers Mall has it all, y’all.”

Enchanted Moments

Explore everything that magic and mystery have to offer with this metaphysical gift shop that offers educational workshops located in downtown Milford!

We are more than just a brick-and-mortar gift shop. We are a community of like-minded individuals sharing our collective gifts and experiences with our growing family. We have a shared belief centered around the natural world and the Divine Feminine. We know that everyone has their own path to enlightenment, and we welcome and encourage individuals from all paths of lives.”

Lucky Cat Museum and Gift Shop

Make an appointment to visit this delightful Japanese influenced gallery and store in the Essex Studios.

“Why? Because cats. That’s why.”

Indigo Hippo

This creative gem is an amazing nonprofit that sells artwork and secondhand art supplies that is affordable. You can find all the materials you need for your next project at this influential store in the art district of OTR on Main St.

“We aim to make creativity accessible to everyone by offering creative materials to the community with pay-what-you-can pricing.”

Jet Black Vintage

Sustainable fashion has been elevated to a new meaning with the way Jet Black Vintage curates the looks they put together to create a clothing line that’s a vibe.

“Exploring our connection to fashion and comfort.”

Little Mahatma

“The Little Great One” is a mesmerizing international that sells one-of-a-kind pieces and artifacts from all around the world. Each item tells a story and gives insight to different places and customs. Located near Washington Park, the Art Academy of Cincinnati, and tons of restaurants and shops to enjoy.


Kismet is a travel inspired retail store that celebrates the life on earth. This whimsical boutique is nestled in O’Bryonville in addition to other locations throughout Ohio.

“Our vision is to bring locally sourced and worldly inspired products to our community through a unique shopping experience.”

Align Retro Furniture

This funky furniture store is a fabulous spot to check out vintage and local inspired pieces that have a modern flair. They are partnered with Urban Timber Cincinnati and even offer design consulting for the space you’d like to style. Located right down the street from the famous Arnold’s Bar and Grill, which is known for showcasing creatives of all kinds.

Vada Gallery

This special gallery makes an incredible effort to support and uplift the creative community. They are collaborating with local artists to sell and showcase their work in a welcoming environment. The owners are a friendly and enthusiastic family that is embracing and sharing their love for art and people.

“Let us connect you to local artists to bring the magic of the arts to you.”


If you’re looking for something quirky and a little out of this world you should go to this fascinating oddities and record store located in the historical Mainstrasse Village in Covington, Ky. The shop is humorous and educational, you’ll be sure to laugh and discover something new each and every time.

“You just gotta hop over the river and you’ll be right here! Don’t worry. We heard you’re big jumper.”

Article & Photos by:

Let’s Talk Art

Do you love art and live in the Cincinnati area?

Want to learn more about the art community near you?

Join me, local artist Christen Collins in exploring and discovering new ways to experience art in the world around you!  I’m teaming up with Everything Cincy as an Art Influencer to share creative practices and places!

Last year I moved back to Cincinnati to accept a teaching position in the Community Education Department at the Art Academy of Cincinnati where I obtained my BFA in Print Media.  You can find me at the AAC most days working in a variety of different departments that the school has to offer!  While studying at the Art Academy my work had a strong influence in my connection to the natural world and continues to be inspired by archaeology, science, nature, and spirituality.

During my time in Ohio I worked in the Learning Labs Department at The Natural History Museum where I taught about indigenous plants, animals, and people of the Ohio River Valley.

Then I worked as a Professional Screenprinter for a few years in Northern Kentucky, while traveling to Arizona where I did volunteer work in the Archives Department at an Ecology and Architecture Community called Arcosanti.

After, I moved to Colorado to pursue Permaculture Design and embraced the design elements of indigenous practices. While living in this rich in native culture landscape I began to create Earthworks, Contemporary Installations/Sculptors and Gardens motivated by the ways of the ancient people of America.

Once my Artist in Residence Program ended in Southern Colorado I moved to New Mexico where I began an Internship at Taos Clay Studio and Gallery were, I studied ceramics and native pottery making.

I’m inspired by the world around me and try to interpret my perspective of it through my art!  Living in Cincinnati and traveling across the country has been a major influence on my work that is constantly changing! I’ve always been interested in street art, graffiti, public art, installations, photography, architecture and printmaking!

And now I’m excited to share all of it with you!  One of my favorite places to check out Public Art, Murals, and Graffiti is Bolivar Alley located in Pendleton between 12th and 13th street!  Walk down this alley to discover endless artwork that can be seen from the ground to the tops of the buildings!

For more info about me and to see some of my work visit my site! or follow my journey on Instagram @christencc