Truth and Innovation Artist Showcase provides platform for underrepresented artists

Themes of health, race, history, as well as a vision for a more equitable future, will be the focus of the Truth and Innovation Artist Showcase, sponsored by ArtsWave, and running from July 11 through August 17. New works from local artists in the visual and performing arts will be presented at the Clifton Cultural Arts Center, the Contemporary Arts Center downtown, and the Carnegie Center for the Arts in Covington. The artists each received grants from ArtsWave's Black and Brown Artist program to produce their projects. 

A diverse range of artworks spanning mediums and styles, the showcase aims to provide a platform for underrepresented artists to share their stories, perspectives, and cultural heritage with the broader community. The works will range from paintings and sculptures to photography and multimedia installations, and attendees can expect a vibrant and thought-provoking display of creativity.

TT stern-enzi will be among those displaying work, as he presents a series of essays called “Stepping In (To Fatherhood) at The Carnegie on July 14. 

“I usually focus mainly on film and cultural commentary, but fatherhood has been a deeply personal journey for me,” he says. “I wanted to explore its complexities through, not only my own lens, but through the lens of others — in long-form essays.”
Themes of identity, responsibility, joy, and the challenges and fears that come with raising a child are part of the work, he says. “Each essay is like a chapter of my own narrative as a father,” he says.

One of the driving forces behind the event is Michael Thompson, the curator of the Showcase. A champion of diversity and inclusion in the arts, Thompson has worked to bring together a lineup of artists whose work reflects a multicultural society.

"Art has the power to transcend barriers and foster connections," Thompson says. "Through this showcase, we aim to amplify the voices of Black and Brown artists and provide a platform for their talents to shine. It's about celebrating diversity, promoting equity, and creating a more inclusive arts community."

Thompson says it’s important to represent and support artists from marginalized communities. "By showcasing the work of Black and Brown artists, we not only celebrate their contributions but also challenge existing narratives and stereotypes," he says.

Another artist is Ashley Glass, who will present a film called “Breaking the Silence: The Black Nursing Documentary,” at the Contemporary Arts Center on July 12. “The inspiration came from personal stories and statistics I encountered showing the systemic challenges our Black community faces in the nursing profession,” she says. “I wanted to shed light on these issues and amplify the voices of those affected.” 

The documentary highlights disparities that Black nurses face, including pay inequity, lack of career advancement opportunities, and discrimination in the workplace. “We also explore the impact of these disparities on mental health and job satisfaction among Black community in nursing,” she says.

The opening week of the Truth and Innovation Artist Showcase kicks off with a reception on July 11 from 5-7 p.m. at Clifton Cultural Arts Center. On July 12, the spotlight shifts to a film festival hosted at the Contemporary Arts Center’s Black Box Theatre. On July 14 at 1 p.m., live performances and readings will take place at The Carnegie Art Center in Covington. 

The Truth and Innovation Artist Showcase is not only a celebration of creativity but also an opportunity for dialogue and engagement. The event will feature interactive workshops, panel discussions, and performances that explore themes of identity, culture, and social justice.

"We want this showcase to spark meaningful conversations and inspire positive change," Thompson says. "By bringing people together through art, we can foster greater understanding, empathy, and appreciation for the diverse experiences that make our community so vibrant."

For more information about the Showcase and other upcoming events, visit ArtsWave's website at
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Read more articles by Kareem A. Simpson.

Raised in the inner city of Covington, Kentucky, Kareem Simpson is an author, innovator, community enthusiast, military veteran, serial entrepreneur, foodie and lover of all things creative.