Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center
You may find them dancing, sightseeing, hiking, tending to vegetables in a garden, or volunteering their time. One day they may be exploring Fort Ancient, the next they may be touring one of the local waterways on a pontoon boat. One day they may be sorting items at Matthew 25: Ministries, and another day you may find them giving of their time to a different organization. They may be checking out the butterflies at Krohn Convservatory, exploring one of Cincinnati’s parks, or learning about history or art in one of our area museums. Or they may be in the kitchen practicing their cooking skills.
One thing is for certain, the adults who participate in LADD (Living Arrangements for the Developmentally Disabled)’s Community Connections Program are living fuller lives. They are surrounded by friends and a supportive network. They are learning more about this great region that all of us share.
LADD’s Community Connections is the only non-facilities based program of its kind in Cincinnati. In groups of 3 to 5 adults with developmental disabilities, participants choose places in our area to explore with one of LADD’s social guides. The Program reduces isolation and also provides an opportunity for participants to learn and strengthen life and communication skills, build confidence through decision making, and explore their own likes and dislikes.
Melissa Caywood once told me that, “Without it, I would be doing nothing. Community Connections keeps me busy and I like to be busy.”
Faith Maynard is program manager for LADD. “Part of this process of advocacy is taking stock of who they are – and what they want to accomplish by exploring what they like and don’t like in the world,” she explained.
I love that whole idea. In my work with the organization, getting an opportunity to tag along with one of the groups makes my whole week. These adults have become my friends. When they smile, I smile. When they they tell me about how their making a difference makes them feel good, it makes me feel good too. When I see the interaction between staff and participants, I am reminded of what working with heart is all about. When I see them out in the community, doing what all of us have a right to be doing, I think this is just as it should be.
Community Connections is about so much more than just an activity to occupy a day. It is about relationships being built and strengthened. It is about people who deserve to be included and valued, being included and valued.
One of the groups recently gathered at the Contemporary Arts Center to create handmade birthday cards for children at St. Joseph Orphanage. A few visitors of the CAC stopped by to help. Each card was personalized with stickers, drawings and messages.
“Our kids that stay with us love to receive cards to display in their rooms. Oftentimes they are in the custody of children services and the cards received from caring card pals will be the only cards they get. Knowing someone in the community cares enough to make a card helps them feel valued and special. Thank you LADD!,” Lisa Caminiti, community relations/volunteer coordinator for St. Joseph Orphanage told me.
And how did Community Connections participants feel about their gifts?
“I think it is going to make the kids feel good and it makes me feel good to do that,” Trip Huggins told me.
“It makes me happy to make the cards because I know I am helping someone,” Erin McDermott said.
CINspirational People is a feature of Good Things Going Around profiling diverse people of Greater Cincinnati, what inspires them, and what is inspiring about them. You can read more profiles by clicking on the link at the top of the blog. Do you know someone to suggest? Please reach out. Thanks!
Today we are featuring Cincinnati artist Cedric Michael Cox, best known for his paintings and drawings, which fall between surrealism and representational abstraction, and have been exhibited locally and regionally. Cedric has had solo exhibits at the Contemporary Arts Center of Cincinnati (CAC), the Carnegie Visual and Performing Arts Center, PAC Gallery, and Weston Gallery in the Aronoff Center for the Arts. In support of his efforts in the visual arts and art education communities, the City of Cincinnati awarded him the Individual Artist Grant in 2009. He received a Congressional Award in 2010.
Cedric’s art has been featured in magazines, on television, and in the college textbook Drawing: Space, Form and Expression. In addition to his work being in
corporate collections, Cox executed two large-scale public murals for the city of Cincinnati. His recent exhibits include the Museum of Science and Industry Chicago, the Phoenix Gallery, Chicago, Sacramento’s Evolve the Gallery, the Harlem Fine Art exhibition, the Williamsburg Arts and Historical Center Brooklyn, NY, the National Arts League, Douglaston, NY and The Robeson Gallery at Pennsylvania State University.
GTGA: What is an accomplishment you achieved that you are proud of?
Cedric: My Career as a visual artist has had so many mile stones and memorable moments that to single out one achievement would be very difficult. I believe every small step is a leap to larger achievements. When I think of goals or achievements that were met I must look to the most recent awards and recognitions that I have received. This year I was awarded the Yeck artist in residence at the Dayton Arts Institute. Also this year I was selected to design and execute a mural for Amberley Villages 75th Anniversary. Other past achievements include my first solo exhibition at Five Myles Gallery in New York and my art work being exhibited at the Contemporary Arts Center where I currently have a permanent work on display, the Weston Art Gallery in 2010 and a congressional award for my commitment to arts and art education
GTGA: Tell us about someone who has been a positive influence in your life.
Cedric: God and family have been the most positive influence for me. My work ethic was installed through my upbringing.
In regards to my art and the creative process and journey, professor Tarrence Corbin was as mentor who was the positive influence that still leaves a mark on me and my work with quotes I like, “It’s not how much you do in one day it’s how well you do it” and “There is one four letter word that sets one artist from the next ………..WORK”, still echo in my mind when I create as well as when I teach. The connection between me and my students has been an important role in my life and how I live. Because I am achieving the dreams that I had as a child there is a deeply rooted channel that connects me with the students I teach.
When I paint, I want the child I once was to be represented in my paintings on a visceral level, and at the same time on an adult level. Terrance would also say “Just have fun”, and I try to do this with my career.
GTGA: What is a motto you live by and why or how has it impact you?
Cedric: Every moment and interaction is important and you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Because, I want my art to be appreciated by all people, I try to project a welcoming attitude towards life and experience and I invite others to share the experience with me. Embrace all and every moment is my motto.
GTGA: What is your biggest motivator?
Cedric: Passion and fear are my biggest motivators. Faith in God and my ability drives my passion to create. I know that I will work hard until I’m completely satisfied on whatever I’m trying to accomplish, but sometimes fear steps in. Fear is not a bad thing. Fear is based on past experience or a prediction of what might happen and it also evokes action, but if I plan and project positive procedures and solutions to ensure success, my passion will flourish.