Ke’Monte Figgs in his studio at Kennedy Heights Arts Center. Photo by Shawndale Thomas.

By Ellen Muse


Kennedy Arts Center

Local artist Ke’Monte Figgs aspires to become the Black Dr. Suess.

His new book, “Dreams, Art and Success,” is a guide to young people to follow their dreams.

He recently released the book at an event at Kennedy Heights Arts Center, 6546 Montgomery Road, where he read and shared his inspiration for “Dreams, Art and Success.”

A 2022 Kennedy Heights Arts Center Vibrancy Fellow, Ke’Monte Figgs is a self-taught, Cincinnati-based artist. From the gorgeous painted illustrations, to the poetic writing on each page, Figgs created every aspect of the book and makes every creative decision. With support from Kennedy Heights Arts Center and Black Art Speaks, he was able to self-publish the book in September, 2022.

Ke’Monte’s inspiration to write derived from the tragic death of his high school best friend. This tragedy caused him to experience a spiritual moment in which he felt called to write a book that would inspire young people, especially Black children, in a positive way.

“Dreams, Art and Success” follows the character, Mr. Craven, through different dreams and aspirations. Craven shows the reader that there are infinite life routes to take and they should follow their dreams for fulfillment and success.

The name Craven comes from the last name of the author’s family, chosen to give a more positive association to a name that holds memories of a difficult time in his past. Taking a look back at his own childhood, Figgs reveals, “[I had] nobody to stay on my tail and needed discipline to really see what I could do with my talent.” He hopes that Mr. Craven can be the guide he needed for today’s young artists.

Following the book launch, Figgs plans to introduce the book at public libraries and school in the city. And, he is currently working on his second book

Individuals may purchase copies of Dreams, Art and Success at Kennedy Heights Arts Center, 6546 Montgomery Road, or contact 513-631-4278 or to mail order a book.

The mission of Kennedy Heights Arts Center is to enhance the life of the surrounding community through arts and cultural experiences that embrace diversity, foster creativity and build community. Founded in 2004, the community arts center provides arts education programs, exhibitions, and cultural events for more than 5,000 diverse youth and adults annually.

Kennedy Heights Arts Center receives annual operating support from Artswave and the Ohio Arts Council. Support for the Vibrancy Fellowship, a residency for emerging Black artists, is provided by grants from the Greater Cincinnati Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.

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