CREATE: Artist Projects
Louisville Metro Public Health and Wellness Dept. and the Center for Health Equity presents:
As part of the 2021 Health Equity Report, the Center for Health Equity created an opportunity to fund two artists for CREATE, Centering Reimagined Equity and Transformative Empowerment. As we work with our Community Advisory Board (CAB) to envision a healing ecosystem that caters to the creative wealth and well-being of every resident in Louisville, we wanted to be able to have an artistic layer of the report that could help residents imagine this future with us.
The CAB has developed visions specific to root causes of health including housing, education, early childhood development, transportation, food systems, and health and human services. This holistic ecosystem centers people and their power as decision makers, creatives, homeowners, protected patients, patrons, and residents in our city. We identify and research root causes of health and their effects on our lives to potentially answer the question, how would it feel to engage with oneself, community, and a local government that acknowledges your needs and voice in the ways it operates? Our inaugural CREATE artists will engage with what healing and holistic public health and wellness looks like, feels like, and could eventually become in our city.
We are proud to present Dr. Jabani Bennett and Toya Northington who will work with us over the next several months on their projects.
Dr. Jabani Bennett
Dr. Jabani Bennett is an award-winning arts education consultant, certified visual arts teacher, and formally trained artist based in the Russell neighborhood of Louisville, KY. With more than a decade of teaching the arts in New York City and Kentucky, Dr. Bennett is passionate about increasing opportunities for underrepresented artists and arts leaders. Now residing in her hometown, she supports efforts toward collective healing in the lives of her students and families through arts.
Dr. Bennett's CREATE project aims to conceptualize, curate, and publish a photo book directory of underrepresented artists of color or low-income artists in Louisville, KY. The selection process includes asking artists across disciplines to share recommendations centered in the positive transformation of the collective. The culminative responses support comprehensive solutions to advance health and cultural equity in our community.
Toya Northington graduated with a Fine Art degree from Georgia State University and also holds a MSc in Social Work from the University of Louisville. She has exhibited in group and solo exhibitions in Georgia and Kentucky, and in recent years has been involved in a number of public art projects in Louisville. Working in mixed media and across disciplines, Toya speaks of her work as pushing back at societal expectations, as an act of resistance. As a feminist and social activist she states, “My work is an acknowledgment of traumas too often experienced by women and a means to foster healing and resilience from them.” Toya is the recipient of Art Meets Activism, Artist Enrichment, and The Special grants from the Kentucky Foundation for Women.
In 2012, Toya founded an art-based, mental health and social justice organization that was the first non-profit organization that employed art-based, trauma-informed programming to the address the psychosocial needs of black girls and LGBTQ+ youth in Louisville, KY. She is currently the Executive Director of artThrust and the Community Outreach Manager at the Speed Museum.
Dancing in the Rain is a multimedia arts, social justice, and health project that will bring together ten Black women to discuss the joys, sorrow, trauma, and triumph they have experienced in their lives. These discussions will provide the foundation to create stories around their lived experiences. These women will turn those into multimedia narratives or “biomythographies that combine audio, photography, and video using elements of history, myth, and biography.