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Columbus Commits to Deliver Black Dreams, a New Aspirational Racial Equity Campaign

in Press Releases October 7, 2020 4 min read

Maroon Arts Group and Greater Columbus Arts Council Partner with the City of Columbus on Major Black Lives Matter Public Art Project

COLUMBUS, Ohio — A new multifaceted racial equity campaign called Deliver Black Dreams is getting under way this fall in Columbus. Deliver Black Dreams will use public art as a launch point for a sustained and future-oriented approach to achieving racial equity in Columbus, one that helps the community reimagine and design a city where everyone can live abundantly.

Led by Marshall Shorts, designer, principal at Artfluential and co-creator of Creative Control Fest, Deliver Black Dreams is a campaign OF, BY and FOR Black people. It is a campaign that seeks long-term change in the culture, and a future where Black people and those who love them are free to choose their destiny, free from oppression.

“Deliver Black Dreams is about creating a city for ALL of US, where ALL can live abundantly,” said Shorts. “Deliver Black Dreams is more than a campaign. It is a commitment. It is about connecting cultural products such as public art to tangible systemic change that reimagines a world where all of us can thrive. Deliver Black Dreams is centered in a Black voice and affirms that Black Lives Matter AND if they do then we must make a commitment to Deliver Black Dreams.”

The first phase of the campaign is based in visual expression and will employ Black artists to create public art and encourage mentorship of young people and new artists around the central narrative of “Deliver Black Dreams” in three to six large-scale murals this fall and in spring 2021.

The other major visual expression components for Deliver Black Dreams are:

  • Free, outdoor exhibitions in neighborhoods throughout Columbus of the Art Unites Cbus temporary murals created after the June protests—locations to be installed in late October include Coleman’s Point on Civic Center Drive, Easton, Huntington Center, King Arts Complex, Lincoln Theatre, Maroon Arts Group Box Park, McConnell Arts Center, Ohio History Connection and the Short North at Greenwood Park at Fourth and High. Read more about the Art Unites Cbus mural exhibitions here.
  • Cash awards to Black filmmakers and photographers to tell the story of the protests in their own voice. See announcement of award recipients.
  • Privately funded murals such as April Sunami’s new mural Black Women Matter at 859 E. Long St. in King Lincoln/Bronzeville.
  • Additional components that involve mentorship of young artists are being developed.

“Columbus should be a place free of racism and oppression—a place where all our residents can thrive, not just a few. The city of Columbus believes in investing in public art by African Americans that will inspire our community now and in the future,” said Mayor Andrew J. Ginther. “The installations of public art for Deliver Black Dreams will lift up the hopes and aspirations of our minority residents and challenge our broader population and city leaders to commit to equity in all walks of life. There is no greater calling than bending the curve of history, and the future, to justice and equality. Now, more than ever, Columbus strives to be a city where we can and will Deliver Black Dreams.”

“I am proud to support the work of Delivering Black Dreams, and cannot think of a time better than the present to uplift and empower our community,” said Councilmember Shayla Favor, who led the funding effort at Columbus City Council. “This project is about more than just public art. It is about recommitting ourselves to achieving true racial equity so that future generations can all have the same opportunities to fulfill their biggest and wildest dreams.”

Deliver Black Dreams seeks to develop community partnerships, programming, outreach and mentorship that can have a long-term impact in not just the cultural sector but education, health, safety and economic sectors as well.

“The short-term goals—public art—and long-term goals—changing the culture—of Deliver Black Dreams are inextricably linked,” explains Shorts. “People in our community are suffering and discouraged by the injustices we see. We need form to follow functional change in our city. We deliver Black dreams by making sure that the most vulnerable amongst us are heard and can thrive in this city.”

Funding for the public art and visual expression components of Deliver Black Dreams is provided by the City of Columbus, American Electric Power Foundation, Huntington and Grange Insurance, with additional support from the Greater Columbus Arts Council and the Art Unites Cbus project and Orange Barrel Media.

Maroon Arts Group Mission: To develop and provide a platform for conscious art centered around the preservation and promotion of cultures of African descent.

Mission of the Greater Columbus Arts Council: To support and advance the arts and cultural fabric of Columbus.

The Greater Columbus Arts Council receives major financial support from the City of Columbus, Franklin County Commissioners and the Ohio Arts Council.

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Jami Goldstein, Greater Columbus Arts Council:, (614) 221-8492
Marshall Shorts, Deliver Black Dreams creator:
Sheri Neale, Maroon Arts Group: