August 7, 2001


Interactive Project Expresses Oral History, Poetry & Visual Art In

The Bench at the Main Library through September

An interactive story-telling project using oral history, poetry and visual art to express emotions is the topic of a new exhibit, The Bench, which will be in the Atrium of the Main Library, 800 Vine Street, through September. The Bench is a collaborative effort of poet Pamela Myricks and artist Brian Joiner, and is funded with support from the City of Cincinnati.

Myricks and Joiner presented workshops that included urban youth, senior citizens, and developmentally disabled adults at several branch libraries, as well as St. Joseph School, Hays School, Porter School, Washburn School, Clifton Senior Center, the Cincinnati Arts Consortium, Academy for Direct Support Professionals, Ohio Valley Residential Services, LADD, Middletown Center, Goodwill, and the Warren County Board of MRDD.

Participants were encouraged to draw and write on adhesive poster paper and apply paint colors to prepared wood surfaces. They were also asked to tell their stories of happiness, sadness or favorite people through words, images or a combination of both. The goal was to rekindle the spirit of oral tradition and the arts, express emotions, and redirect negative energy into an art form.

The name of the exhibit, �The Bench,� is derived from the title of a poem written by Myricks and a painting done by Joiner that was inspired by the poem. The exhibit also includes 18 posters created by workshop participants, six paintings begun during workshop sessions and completed by Joiner, and 14 poetic collages created or assembled. The bench pictured in Joiner�s painting belonged to Myrick�s great-grandmother, and she uses it to for many of her writings.

Pamela Myricks was a special educator for 22 years before becoming a full-time literary artist. She has been published through the Longfellow Society, recorded on WGUC, and received the 2000-2001 Cincinnati Individual Artist Grant.

Brian Joiner was honored by Cincinnati Magazine as the city�s Best Portrait Artist in 1999, and by the Cincinnati Enquirer for Best Art Exhibit in 1998. He has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Cleveland Institute of Art, where he majored in painting and minored in drawing.



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