Public Art Project Opens September 24 Raises Awareness of Pandemic Effects on Minority-Owned Businesses

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Association of Central Oklahoma Governments (ACOG) has been awarded a #micrOKC Community Action Grant by ULI Oklahoma and Downtown Oklahoma City Initiatives. These micro-grants ($1000-$3000) are aimed to help fund placemaking and public art ideas that welcome back the community and offer support of downtown districts and businesses as they attempt to navigate the pandemic.

In support of this goal, ACOG’s project draws together a diverse group of artists, urban planners, and economic development professionals to create a series of four (4) poetry posters which will be displayed in the windows of Vanessa House Tap Bar, a minority-owned business operating in the food industry. The public art will be displayed starting at 6 p.m. on Friday, September 24.

As the Capital Economic Development District (CAPEDD) of Oklahoma, ACOG updated its Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) and outlined a goal to build a resilient economy through business development and attraction, diversification of the economic base, equity, along with the adoption of policies that address social, economic, and environmental disruptions.

The artwork and poetry in each of the four (4) posters highlight the fact that the pandemic has pushed Central Oklahomans to think more about food access and food security on one hand, and on the other hand about the impact of the economic recession on certain communities and businesses.

“This project intends to raise awareness about the disproportionate impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on our disadvantaged populations, particularly regarding the inequity of food access in our communities,” Mark W. Sweeney, AICP, ACOG Executive Director said.

ACOG Planning Assistant and Micro-Grant project manager Ethan Mazzio said, “Where ACOG is perhaps not positioned to improve food access directly, we are now empowered through the Community Action Grants initiative to raise awareness of this issue by funding a project powered by local minority artists and a minority-owned business right in the heart of Oklahoma City.”

The local artists collaborating with ACOG to create the artwork are visual artist Shakurah Maynard and poets Roxana Cazan and Montise.

Staff Contacts

Rachel Meinke
Public Information Director

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