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Amanda King

Type of Work: photography

For Conceptual Artist/Activist Amanda King, Art is even more than a means of expression, it is the vehicle through which she accomplishes community work. Her exhibitions explore themes of race, gender, socioeconomics, trauma, family and community. Through the lens of her camera, she tells the stories of often unseen communities and the societal forces that oppress them. King’s work weaves together elements of fine art photography, portraiture, and documentary photography to simultaneously bring awareness to the interconnectedness of her subjects’ struggles and to properly represent these individuals’ inner diversity. Amanda curates socially engaged
exhibitions and installations that pay homage to the environments in which those she photographs live. King works to sincerely capture the beauty and pain of her subjects’ surroundings, while at the same time educating audiences across communities.

In addition to creating art, Amanda has dedicated her career to advocating for adolescents and underrepresented communities. Amanda is Founder and Creative Director of Shooting Without Bullets, an expressive arts program that provides a framework for black and brown youth in Cleveland to develop and utilize their artistic voice to process the complex social issues affecting their lives & community.

Amanda received her B.A. in Art History from Bryn Mawr College (2011) and a J.D. from Case Western Reserve University School of Law (2017), where she focused on Race and Law, Constitutional Law, Juvenile Law, and the Philosophy of Law. She has been recognized by the Case Western Reserve University School of Law for using her public platform and creative talents to advocate for juvenile justice and police accountability. She is the recipient of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Award for following, in character and conduct, the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.; the Diane Ethics award for demonstrating exemplary understanding of the ethics and ideals of the legal profession in academic, professional and extracurricular activities; and the Dean’s Award for Community Service for her commitment to enriching the lives in the Greater Cleveland Area and serving as an example to others.

Title: “What’s Next?”
What is the next Great Migration? The elusive promised land that black Americans sought during the Great Migration, marched for during the Civil Rights Movement, and continue to protest for today doesn’t seem to exist anywhere-- not even in the arena of sports. This image pays homage to revolutionary protests by black athletes Jesse Owens, Tommie Smith, John Carlos and Colin Kaepernick.
Four boys sit on the steps of an abandoned school. In the background is the American Flag. Like Owens, one boy salutes the flag while two other boys raise their fists as did Tommie Smith and John Carlos. The fourth boy sits with his hands gently crossed, resting on his knees like Kaepernick.
The boys were born in Cleveland, the promised land fled to by Jesse Owens and his sharecropper parents during the Great Migration. Despite making the physical migration from South to North to escape lynching and other racial terrorism, black Americans are still nine times more likely to experience police brutality. Despite being the descendants of those who sought political asylum and greater opportunity in Ohio, they are not free from poverty and systemic barriers that hinder their upward mobility. Despite freedom of speech being a constitutional right, black Americans face personal and professional repercussions for speaking out against injustice.
Physical migration has not ensured safety for black Americans. Civil rights laws and constitutional protections have not ensured freedom from injustice. Even the economic success and notoriety that comes along with being a successful athlete cannot protect a black individual from racism. This image reminds us of protests of the past and asks us to imagine a better future. How do we create a Promised Land that is not just a dream of black migrants but a reality for black athletes, Clevelanders and black children like the ones depicted in this photo?
This exhibit is part of a temporary on-board installation.

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Adrienne Slane

Type of Work: Mixed Media

Adrienne Slane is an artist who works with collage. She graduated from The Cleveland Institute of Art in 2010 with a major in drawing. She currently lives in a rural town in Ohio and spends her days working in her studio, taking hikes in the forest, beachcombing, exploring abandoned places, and participating in the arts community. She creates hand-cut collages from old illustrations and antique and decorative papers. She combines images of plants, insects, animals, planets, human anatomy, and various objects whose diverse sources range from the 1500s to mid-1900s. The subject matter and composition of her work is inspired by the history of the curiosity cabinet, traditional women’s craft such as folk quilts and paper silhouettes, and Christian and Eastern iconography. Her work celebrates the beauty and interconnectivity of the universe in a time when our environment is in crisis. It draws its imagery from a wealth of illustrations that encouraged exploration, wonder, and appreciation of nature in decades past. It also honors a history of craft practiced by women who were largely denied the opportunity to seriously pursue the recognized fine arts. These women cut and gathered scraps of fabric and paper to create images that reflected their daily lives, their environment, and their folk histories. The decorative, ephemeral, and meditative qualities of old, Christian reliquaries and Eastern mandalas is also reflected in her work, where each individual element works to create a whole.

For my piece inspired by The Gay Revolution: The Story of Struggle by Lillian Faderman, and the theme of love, I have created a colorful, celebratory image using bold graphics. I have chosen to focus on the celebration of LGBT love that was/is made possible by longtime struggle to change negative societal opinions. For riders of public transportation, I think it is important to have imagery that is uplifting during their commute. Since the rainbow is one of the most iconic LGBT symbols, I have created my piece using the bold colors of the rainbow. Besides including the silhouettes of two men and two women representing gay couples and hands coming together representing support and unity, I have included hearts which symbolize love and the word “love” itself, since it is the theme. Birds and butterflies represent freedom in their ability to literally rise above. Butterflies also symbolize hope and positive transformation. The collection of flowers, stars, and various other shapes, besides adding additional beauty and interest to the piece, are meant to give the entire work the look of an exploding firework as in a significant celebration.
This exhibit is part of a temporary on-board installation.

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Sara Bicknell

Type of Work: Mixed Media

Sara Bicknell is an artist hailing from the swamps of Florida, and is currently based in Cleveland, OH. Although she works primarily in illustration, she occasionally dabbles in other forms of visual communication such as animation and design, and is a sucker for a good story.  Often employing whimsical and quirky characters, she hopes to illuminate thoughts that sometimes we’re afraid or embarrassed to share, and bring joy and relief into a world that sometimes get a little dark. Some of the things she draws inspiration from include overheard snippets of conversations, awkward interactions and feelings of unease, that tiny feeling you get in a large crowd, the stories behind objects we chose to keep or discard, people coming together for a common goal, and all the other nuances of being human.


In this piece, families begin a journey in an environment that appears impossible to navigate; however, over time they are able to move through it by changing their perspective, redirecting their expectations to find alternative routes, and with the help, acceptance, and support of others. Although some aspects of our identity are stable, much of it remains fluid, and is shaped by the experience the people we surround ourselves with. The journey taken by these families shapes their identity in ways that they could have not have conceived, and for many, it makes them more accepting, empathic, and adaptable. Andrew Solomon recalls how a Buddhist scholar explained that “nirvana occurs when you not only look forward to rapture, but also gaze back into the time of anguish and find in them seeds of your joy. This exhibit is part of a temporary on-board installation.

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Leigh Bongiorno

Type of Work: Mixed Media

Leigh Bongiorno was born in 1987, outside of Cleveland, Ohio. In 2005, Leigh understudied a local portrait artist and began drawing surrealistic portraits that received national recognition. In 2006, Leigh enrolled into the Columbus College of Art and Design.

Later, she transferred to The Cleveland Institute of Art after being inspired by the work of forensic artists who helped in a missing-person’s case. She earned her degree in Biomedical

Illustration in 2011. Leigh worked with several hospitals, museums, and research facilities, including the Cleveland Clinic.

After 2011, Leigh moved throughout the country gaining artistic inspiration from various individuals she met along the way. After hearing all the incredible stories of those she encountered Leigh decided to switch her work’s focus back to her roots of figurative oil painting.

With subjects ranging from the transgendered to the homeless, she hopes to raise awareness and understanding of those living in a marginalized society. Her work focuses on topics such as race, sex, gender, religion, and poverty. She hopes that her work will inspire others to see the beauty in those around them.

Leigh’s work has been displayed in galleries and museums around the country from New York to Los Angeles. She recently settled back in her hometown of Cleveland, where she plans to further expand her artistic and humanitarian endeavors in the local, national, and international community.

This illustration is for a chapter in the book, Far From the Tree , by Andrew Solomon. The book is a collection of hundreds of interviews from children with horizontal and vertical identities as well as from the parents who are raising them. The chapter depicted here was on the vertical identity of deafness. In this chapter there is a discussion of the challenges faced by the deaf community.
Most deaf individuals are born to hearing parents and attend mainstream school without any specialist in place. Because deafness is not considered a learning disability like dyslexia they are not given the same special assistance. Many parents think it's best to teach their deaf children lip reading in place of American Sign Language (ASL). Parents may think that lip reading is a better approach since everyone doesn't understand ASL. The problem with this is that the children only understand about 30% of what they're told through lip reading. This leads to lower test scores and grades despite their average intelligence level. Through special ASL schools deaf students are able to fully understand the lessons and materials and therefore receive a greater education. Through ASL, they can easily be taught to read and write just like the hearing community.
There's a debate on cochlear implants (a surgically implanted electronic device that provides a sense of sound). Not all deaf individuals are candidates for cochlear implants. If their child is a candidate, parents have to decide whether or not to get the implant while their child is extremely young or wait until their child is old enough to decide for themselves. If one waits until their child is of an appropriate age to decide then it makes it harder for them to learn and understand the spoken word. It would be the difference of being raised bilingual versus learning a second language as an adult. The child may have to take off a couple years of school to learn the spoken language, but they will never be as fluent as if they learned speech from birth. At this point many deaf individuals choose to forgo the implant as they've already become accustomed to ASL, and deafness has become part of their identity. They can communicate, learn, read, and write and see no reason to fix what's not broken.
Sign language is not just a translation of English. It’s a language all on its own. It has its own grammar and its own regional accents. Sometimes different ethnic groups can vary in the way they sign certain words such as “boss” or “school”. There’s also variations in the speed of signing. As one would guess, a signer from New York may sign very quickly while a signer from Ohio is likely to be more calm and relaxed in the way they sign. Those who sign in the southern United States tend to touch their lower face and chest more when they sign. There are 130 different distinct sign languages worldwide. When someone learns a new sign language they will still carry their regional accents with them just like one would with any spoken language.
There are several causes to deafness. Some people are born deaf and others acquire it later on. Many individuals inherit their deafness while for others it’s a symptom of a larger disease. Other times one can become deaf due to an illness or trauma. Often deafness is caused from a lack of healthy stereocilia, the tiny hair-like structures inside one’s ear. Sound waves cause the stereocilia to move back and forth similar to the vibrations on a speaker or a drum. The stereocilia convert these movements into electrical signals that get sent to the brain where they are then translated to the words and sounds that we know and understand. In deaf individuals who lack these structures there is no movement and thus nothing to be translated. The slow deterioration of these tiny hairs is also what can lead to hearing loss in aging adults.
An ethics debate has been risen with the advancement of genetic screening to select for and against deafness in one’s possible child. Many deaf parents may wish to have deaf children while some hearing parents may see it as unethical to knowingly give birth to a child who lacks the ability to hear. Some countries who perform In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) have started banning the implantation of embryos with known genetic mutations, such as deafness, if there are other embryos without the mutation available. The widespread use of these technologies could lead to the disappearance of deaf individuals worldwide causing the genocide of the entire deaf community. This thought can be extremely troublesome to those who are deaf. It sends the message that they're an illness or a disease that must be cured or corrected, that they're not good enough, or that the world would be better off without deaf individuals. Deafness is not a mental disability, it is not a sign of lowered intelligence, or a lack of motivation. Deaf individuals are capable of doing anything that the hearing can except for hearing and some can still partially do that.
I wanted my artwork to show how the deaf community really sees themselves. They are strong and intelligent. They work hard everyday to overcome their obstacles. They can do anything they want to. I did a drawing of a seven year old child as he signed the words, “Deaf Strong.” I wanted to allow the viewer to see the world through deaf eyes if only for a second. When someone who doesn't speak ASL looks at my drawing they won't know what is being said. This is the everyday life of deaf individuals. Just like the viewer, the deaf community is intelligent and capable of anything regardless of what language they speak. I wanted to empower the deaf community while at the same time encourage an understanding for their culture. My goal as an artist has been to unite society by accepting our differences and respecting one another. Most of us are very similar at the core. We all just want to be loved and understood. Art allows me to show the beauty in everyone in a way that transcends language and culture.
This exhibit is part of a temporary on-board installation.

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Joel Quiggle

Type of Work: Mixed Media

Joel Quiggle offers an eclectic array, ranging from splashes of whimsy to more solemn commentaries bathed in symbolism. His vision is to inspire and encourage others; his passion is for the voiceless; and his mission is to use his talents for the glory of God. Quiggle earned his BFA in drawing/painting from Penn State University in 2007 and has exhibited at both Glass Growers Gallery and Urraro Gallery in his hometown of Erie, PA, as well as Octagon Gallery in Westfield, NY. He enjoys experimenting with mediums and often draws inspiration from apocalyptic texts and nameless, historical figures.

When creating this piece, I really wanted to show the forward/upward movement that is possible when you strive for something better. You have to put fear and doubt aside, and in this case, run towards the goal. During the Great Migration, many hopeful African Americans left behind pain and heartache in the South only to find more of the same in the North and West. However, James Cleveland Owens, who came to be known as Jesse Owens, was a shining star in the darkness. This inspirational black man went on to win four gold medals during the Berlin 1936 Olympics, ultimately bruising the pride of Hitler and his precious Aryan people.
This exhibit is part of a temporary on-board installation.