Reclaiming the neighborhood, one photograph and story at a time. That’s exactly what one local artist is trying to do and she’s starting with the Buckeye neighborhood.
“This building has its own history,” said artist and activist Amanda King as she unlocked the gate to enter her latest exhibition, inside an abandoned building.
“There was a child who was murdered here by his mother,” she said.
It’s probably the last place you’d probably think of for an art exhibition. But, not for King.
“I don’t do pretty," she said.
The building on Buckeye Road and 130th Street fit her purpose perfectly.
“I do what is real, and what is here and what is in the community,” King said.
The Marigold exhibition shows three generations from a family living in the Buckeye neighborhood, who have seen tragedy and violence firsthand, like a bullet shot right through their window.
“I just saw how much her family really loved and contributed to the Buckeye community,” she said.
The photos hanging inside the front windows of the building, also depict the family’s resiliency, just like their neighborhood.
“I knew that they were very much representative of this ‘marigold’ concept, something that is fragile, but is resilient,” said King.
Her inspiration for the pieces came from the novel from Ohio author Tori Morrison’s 'The Bluest Eye', whose main character, Pecola experiences similar tragedies.
“I think that we need to uplift folks like Pecola in our society,” King said.
The artwork is an extension of King’s socially conscious non-profit for youth called Shooting Without Bullets.
“What I do is I provide them with a framework to process complex social problems,” she said.
Problems like poverty, crime, and neglect, all things she helps teens put into the form of art and music.
The big picture to engage the community, to change the community.
“The authenticity of the program lies within, learning to be and navigate, and love and appreciate your own streets,” said King.
Her next project with Shooting Without Bullets is a program for youth to get them to get interested in civic and political conversations as well as to vote.
It’s called The Wake-Up Criminal Justice Reform Discussion and it’ll be held this Saturday at Cleveland State University at noon. The event is free and open to the public.