By Jill E. Dunne

Cincinnati Art Museum

Join The Well and ArtWorks for a mural dedication, book launch and exhibition by teen and young adult art apprentices on Thursday, October 5 from 5-8 p.m. at The Well in Camp Washington, 2868 Colerain Ave. The event is free with registration.

Over eight weeks this summer, the True Body Project and ArtWorks joined forces to empower 12 female and gender-expansive youth through trauma-informed programs, including movement and art. The results will share their journeys, raising awareness and exploring solutions to the mental health challenges faced by teenage girls.

Funded by the City of Cincinnati, P&G Beauty, Idlewild Boutique and area individuals, this unique summer program allowed teens and young adults to work with The Well and True Body Project Program Founder Stacy Sims, Teaching Artist Kyle Wolff, and 15 guest artists. The result of this mentorship was the creation of a Planet Love-themed book, mural, and exhibition created with writing, sculpture, photography, painting and mixed media, which will be celebrated at the dedication event.

Senior Apprentice MJ Cook penned the opening of Dispatches from Planet Love, a 100-page book:             

“One minute it was Ohio summer, with the sticky, wet heat that strips you down to a thin t-shirt and bare feet, terrible gray skies inherited from Canada fires, the distant squeals of trains, the hum of Metro busses, folks hollering on cell phones, and the raucous buzzing of cicadas in the sparsely timbered streets of Camp Washington, Cincinnati. Next thing we knew, the 12 of us, strangers to one another, ventured into an experience that would hold unanticipated and unparalleled connections, extensive art making and creative expression, and lessons in navigating our world, and even the universe, as owners of bodies.”

The Well’s Executive Director Stacy Sims pioneered the now-global True Body Project in 2005 and 2006. This project began as a summer program for teen girls as part of ArtWorks’ efforts to employ young adults in the arts. Considering the current mental health crisis among teen girls, Sims felt a pressing need to revert to the original format of the program.

“I’m immensely proud of ArtWorks’ partnership with The Well and our role in launching True Body Project back in 2005. Mental health challenges faced by young adults today are unparalleled and why this important partnership matters more than ever. This collaboration is a testament to the power of art as a tool for building resiliency,” said Colleen Houston, ArtWorks CEO and Artist Director.

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