While millions of people are fleeing war, terror and persecution, 34 artists and a film crew have embarked on a mission to inspire understanding and compassion. The Columbus Crossing Borders Project, directed by Laurie VanBalen and documentary filmmaker Doug Swift, is presented as a traveling visual art exhibition and documentary film.
Artist Mark Soppeland, a distinguished professor of art emeritus at the Myers School of Art, The University of Akron, performs the roles of conceptualist, designer, craftsman, historian, philosopher, storyteller, pantheist, scientist and magician in The Sphere of Magic and other Visionary Objects/Extraordinary Images, his solo exhibition of mixed media paintings, collages and sculpture at Dublin Arts Council. The artwork relates to Soppeland’s interest in interpreting the symbolic and cultural baggage of found objects and images to evoke memory.
emerging is Dublin Arts Council’s (DAC) popular annual exhibition of artwork created by students who live within Dublin City Schools’ (DCS) attendance area and students who have participated in DAC summer ARTcamps.
Being a part of this interactive project has been amazing for me! I have had the wonderful opportunity to meet local Somali trailblazers from Columbus. Hearing their stories alongside mine has brought a positive light to our community and I believe it’s changing the narrative. Sometimes when people hear "Somali community”, an inaccurate idea that Somalis are a group of uneducated and insular people may form in their heads.
Since UDDA, I've moved on from being a mechanic and am focused on videography and photography work. I’ve been hired onto a media production company as a director, making commercials and promo videos for NASCAR racers. I currently work with DB3 Imaging where I plan, shoot and edit videos for various clients.
This project has enabled me to meet young Somalis who are making contributions to our central Ohio community. They are working towards breaking the negative stigma of being an immigrant in America.
Growing up with Somali parents for every Somali is a completely different experience. My parents promoted creativity but like most parents, education was the top priority. They always encouraged me to find my passion, they encouraged me to choose a career that I would love, of course with the many options there are, my young self went from everything from a fashion designer to a neurosurgeon. To this day, they promote that same message to my younger siblings.
When Qorsho first approached me about being a mentor for a photo narrative project, I was ecstatic to begin my role as a mentor. The opportunity to utilize the skills I had learned throughout my life was presenting itself in the most beautiful way: through mentorship and empowerment of young Somali girls.
As an educator, I often invite guests into my classroom in order to construct a safe space for Somali-American role models to be recognized for their excellence. My scholars' response to the guests are profoundly powerful and this classroom activity is one of the many reasons why Urur Dhex-Dhexaad Ah/Community In-Between was developed. Visible role models, who are minorities, play an important part in their marginalized communities because they allow members to see what they can be; they ensure dreamers have access to success.
By Peter Tonguette, The Columbus Dispatch When most travelers book a trip to Louisiana, cities such as New Orleans or Baton Rouge are likely stops. It is less likely that their destinations will include Breaux Bridge or St. Francisville. View full article >> In the News