Center for Health Equity awards grants to local artists to enhance the 2021 Health Equity Report

June 03, 2021

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (June 2, 2021) – The Center for Health Equity (CHE) at the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness, and its Community Advisory Board have awarded $10,000 grants to two Louisville artists to help shape the 2021 Health Equity Report.

Dr. Jabani Bennett and Toya Northington will work with CHE over the next six months to engage residents of the city on what healing, health and wellness look and feel like and what it can potentially become.  The artists submitted proposals and were chosen by a committee made up of Center for Health Equity staff, Community Advisory Board members and a representative from the Commission for Public Art. Selection criteria include the project’s alignment with health equity, communication and clarity, and artistic excellence and merit.  


image description: photo of brown skinned woman with short textured hair cut and bright smile who is wearing a black and white print blouse

Dr. Jabani Bennett is an award-winning arts education consultant, certified visual arts teacher, and formally trained artist based in the Russell neighborhood. 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.  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. The selection process includes asking artists across disciplines to share recommendations to support comprehensive solutions to advance health and cultural equity in our community.


image description: brown skin woman with long brown braids, serious expression and glasses wearing a gray sheath dress

Toya Northington graduated with a Fine Art degree from Georgia State University and holds an MSc in Social Work from the University of Louisville. She has held group and solo exhibitions in Georgia and Kentucky, and in recent years has been involved in several public art projects in Louisville. Toya is the recipient of Art Meets Activism, Artist Enrichment, and The Special grants from the Kentucky Foundation for Women. In 2012, she 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 address the psychosocial needs of Black girls and LGBTQ+ youth in Louisville. She is currently the Executive Director of artThrust and the Community Outreach Manager at the Speed Museum.

Northington’s project, “Dancing in the Rain” is a multimedia arts, social justice, and health project that will bring together 10 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 that combine audio, photography and video using elements of history, myth and biography.

“Artists have a role in shaping culture and vision for a community,” said T Gonzales, director of the Center for Health Equity.  “We are excited to be able to work with and financially support these local artists and look forward to sharing their final projects with our 2021 Health Equity Report, a key report in helping us realize our vision of a healthy Louisville where everyone and every community thrives.”

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