Here are the major changes for the 2022 festival

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The show must continue.

Brave Berlin, the co-founder of Blink Cincinnati, announced its separation from the nation’s largest projection art, light and mapping festival on July 14. But event organizers are still looking to bring plenty of excitement to Queen City this fall.

In the months leading up to the Oct. 13-16 festival, Blink Cincinnati organizers plan to announce the roster of artists in three “waves,” including their first announcement on Monday. In this announcement, Blink members will provide an update on the direction and planning for the event. They will also discuss the future of the festival and what attendees can expect this year.

Justin Brookhart, executive director of Blink Cincinnati, gave The Enquirer an exclusive insight.

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Blink 2022 will include international artists

The festival’s overall mission will remain the same, but Blink organizers have made quite a few changes for 2022. In the past, Blink’s partner band selected the artists it would feature. This year, however, the group wants to expand its reach and grow the event by providing opportunities for all interested artists.

According to Brookhart, they will continue to celebrate local talent, but will also introduce Greater Cincinnati residents to big-name international artists.

“What’s a bit different this year is that we made an international call [to artists] in all our disciplines. So through projection mapping, mural, light installations, and even our musician category… We’re using it to curate and decide what the show will look like this year,” Brookhart said.

The international artists included in the first wave announcement are: British visual artist Shantell Martin; British Afro-Surrealist visual artist Vince Fraser; Portuguese visual artist and illustrator, AddFuel; and Australian interdisciplinary artist Wendy Yu in collaboration with Elementz, Cincinnati’s first Hip Hop cultural arts center.

Additionally, Blink will feature projection mapping by international artist Graffmapping on the iconic mural, “Cincinnati Toy Heritage,” designed by local artist Jonathan Queen.

British visual artist Shantell Martin is known for producing her black and white drawings in front of a live audience.

Asked about participating in Blink Cincinnati 2022, Martin, a biracial queer artist from London, said, “I’m a big advocate for community involvement in bringing artwork to local communities or spaces. This mix of artists local and international artists, I think, it’s always super fun.”

Martin’s iconic black and white drawings typically explore themes of intersectionality, identity and play. She has hosted several prestigious solo exhibitions at some of the world’s most renowned art institutions, including 92Y Gallery in New York, the Albright-Knox Gallery and the New Britain Museum of Contemporary Arts.

British visual artist Shantell Martin stands in front of an installation of her black and white line drawings at the New York City Ballet.

The theme for Martin’s piece has yet to be decided, but it will likely be a site-specific mural featuring his signature monochrome designs.

Martin says she hopes her work will encourage residents of Greater Cincinnati to find a creative and artistic outlet that they can use to generate conversations about issues important to their communities.

“I try to create work that is open and playful at the same time,” Martin said. “I like people to feel inspired to create for themselves. I like to encourage freedom of expression. I like to encourage people to reflect or question things.”

A live art installation by Shantell Martin that premiered at the 13th Annual Keep a Child Alive Black Ball in New York City.

Local artists return to Blink 2022

Monday’s announcement from Blink will also reveal several local artists involved in this year’s festival.

Cincinnati-based multimedia artist Michael Coppage will extend his BLACK BOX project with a large-scale projection installation. Local artist Jason Snell will incorporate the projection mapping on the ArtWorks mural, “Ezzard Charles: The Cincinnati Cobra”, which he also designed.

Production powerhouse Lightborne and other local favorites such as DogFish Crew, Linz & Lamb, Jessica Wolf and Mallory Feltz will also showcase artwork.

Blink organizers also recently announced expansion plans for Northern Kentucky. They were made, in part, due to the societal changes caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“How can we really well activate this space knowing that a lot has changed in the area and in social behaviors since 2019? So how do we ensure that we create facilities that take into account that people may want a a little more space between them when you enjoy it?” said Brookhart.

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With the expanded space, Blink 2022 will not limit its work to the streets: the event will have installations in historical and architecturally significant buildings.

Returning projection artist Sean Van Praag will see his work on display at the American Building. The Black Music Walk of Fame at The Banks will have an installation for Cincinnatians. And a project by Italian projection company Antaless Visual Designs will be shown at Mother of God Church in Covington, KY.

Blink expands its advisory board

The first wave announcement will also discuss partnership changes and the addition of a Blink Advisory Board.

Brookhart said her goal is to expand the group of partners and include more voices to help inform Blink’s work this year. This led to the formation of Blink’s Advisory Board, which Brookhart says includes “incredible influencers, thought leaders, and community members inside the Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky areas.”

“We wanted to kind of expand this group a little bit more and make it a little more collaborative, a little more representative of the diversity of the Cincinnati area and what the artworks we were hoping to represent this year,” says Brookhart.

The committee includes the likes of visual artist Gee Horton, Four by Three Productions filmmaker and producer Chase Crawford and FC Cincinnati creative director Kaila Pettis.

Here is an overview of the whole committee.

Blink Cincinnati 2022 Advisory Board:

  • Gee Horton, visual artist
  • Kick Lee, founder of Cincinnati Music Accelerator
  • Chase Crawford, filmmaker and producer for Four by Three Productions
  • Rico Grant, founder of Paloozanoire, SoCap Accelerate, Gallery at Gumbo
  • Christy Samad, Vice President of Event Management for 3CDC
  • Barbara Hauser, Cincinnati Community Relations Manager for Proctor & Gamble and owner of Red Door Project
  • Ronnie Iquina, Senior Account Manager and Media Consultant for Radio One
  • Nate Bachhuber, vice president of artistic planning for the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra
  • Kaila Pettis, Creative Director of FC Cincinnati
  • Nick Wade, Executive Director of Renaissance Covington
  • Amy Spiller, President of Duke Energy Ohio and Kentucky

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