project leader
Elizabeth H
1556 Chase Ave
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Mural Match EXTENDED!

the project

WordPlay Cincy, the Northside Cincinnati-based non-profit dedicated to the creation of spaces for young people to fulfill their potential by discovering, honoring and sharing their voices, has partnered with ArtWorks Cincinnati to create a mural honoring inspirational literary-activist authors and poets as well as some text from WordPlay students to adorn WordPlay’s new home at 1556 Chase Avenue in Northside, Cincinnati. 

The mural is designed by long-time WordPlay and ArtWorks teaching artist Brandon Hawkins (of Soul Palette,, who along with assistant teaching artist Anissa Pulcheon will direct and mentor the 9 Youth Apprentices to paint the 2-D portion of the project. For the second phase of the mural, WordPlay and local collaborators and artists will design and install accessible, tactile elements from the ground to approximately 5’ high for the blind and visually impaired to interact with the subject matter expressed in the 2-D painting throughout. Those elements will include Braille plates with information about the individuals and student writing depicted in the mural, 3-D ceramic pieces and other unique, inclusive and interactive installments. The mural is intended to serve as a both a statement of purpose as well as an inspiration, marking WordPlay’s new home as a community safe place for writing, poetry, art, gathering and the telling of one’s own story.

Our thanks to ArtWorks, who is generously funding roughly half the cost of the 2-D portion of the mural.

the steps

Based on the gridding system that the artists will use to translate the design from paper to the wall, we have divided the mural design into 200 3’x3’ boxes that will be revealed as we raised money for them. To reach the campaign goal, each 3’x3’ box will be revealed at $75 intervals (the ioby image will be updated weekly). In keeping with the box theme, we created some giving levels (in the right hand column ->). 

Here is the project timeline:

Late June 2021 – The Youth Apprentices began working directly with Brandon Hawkins and Anissa Pulcheon prepping the building's facade and gridding out the building to adapt the initial mural design to the building’s exterior.

July/August 2021 – The youth artists will work both collectively and individually to transform the initial inspiration into permanent mural on the public facing wall of the building.

Late August 2021 - Completion of the mural!

October 2021 (Tentative) – Upon completion of the mural, WordPlay and ArtWorks will host a public mural dedication.

why we're doing it

In short, to inspire future generations of young creatives to tell their stories with the same courage as those that have paved the way. WordPlay has always worked to provide safe spaces for children, teens and young adults to tell their stories and find their own power through the written word. We want our new building to further manifest our mission in a bold and deliberate way inspiring not just our students, but our community as well.



  Normal Fees
TOTAL RAISED = $15,464.00
ioby Fiscal Sponsorship Fee (5%) N/A
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%) $463.92

200 3x3 Mural Sections at $75 a section = $15,000

All donations raised through this campaign will go toward our share of the mural prep, mural paint, design costs as well as the payment of artists and youth apprentices.


ioby Fiscal Sponsorship Fee (5%) N/A
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%)
(Donation processing fee does not apply to match funding.)
Donation processing fees apply to donations only. 100% of match funding goes to projects. Please note, fees are estimated here and final numbers may change based on the final amount raised and amount of match funding applied to this campaign.  


Mural Match EXTENDED!

Mural Match Extended!

With sincere thanks to our friends Flip and Sheila Cohen, we are able to offer another 1:1 donation match for our mural campaign!  Give between now and the end of the campaign and your donation is doubled until we reach $1,500! Thank you for helping us get to our goal – every bit helps!

We are also happy to announce the last two authors on our mural! Joining Nikki Giovanni, James Baldwin, Mary Oliver, Sandra Cisenros and Joy Harjo are Paul Lawrence Dunbar and Amanda Gorman! 

Paul Laurence Dunbar was an American poet, novelist, and short story writer. Born in Dayton, Ohio in 1827, he began to publish poems in a Dayton newspaper when he was 16. In addition to his poems, stories & novel, he also wrote the lyrics for the first all African-American musical produced on Broadway, In Dahomey. His incredible talent lead him to garner national and international acclaim.

Amanda Gorman is an American poet and activist. She skyrockted to international fame after she delivered her poem, "The Hill We Climb" at the inaguration of President Biden. Amanda Gorman was the first person to be named National Youth Poet Laureate. She has since performed poetry at the Super Bowl, published two NYT Bestsellers, The Hill We Climb and her first picture book, Change Sings, and has been featured in Time Magazine's 100 Next list.

Second Mural Match THIS Week!

Mural Match THIS Week!

With sincere thanks to our friends Flip and Sheila Cohen, we are able to offer another 1:1 donation match for our mural campaign!  Give between now and October 1, and your donation is doubled until we reach $1,500! Thank you for helping us get to our goal – every bit helps!

"The beauty of literature is you allow readers to see things through other people's eyes." - Sandra Cisneros.

Speaking of our mural, would are proud to publicly announce another one of the amazing literary activist icons represented on our mural − Sandra Cisneros. Sandra Cisneros is a poet, short story writer, novelist, essayist, performer, and artist whose work explores the lives of the working-class. Her awards and recognitions are too numerous to list here, but we are thrilled to have her as part of our mural and an inspiration for WordPlay students.

Joy Harjo officially joins our mural!

“All acts of kindness are lights in the war for justice.”

― Joy Harjo, The Woman Who Fell from the Sky: Poems

This week, we are happy to announce our third literary icon announced for our mural! Joy Harjo is the United States poet laureate, and is the first Native American Poet Laureate in the history of the position. She is a member of the Mvskoke/Creek Nation and belongs to Oce Vpofv. Joy Harjo is a poet, author, teacher, musician, storyteller, playwright and activist. When we began to conceive of who we wanted to represent on our mural, she was one of the first names we thought of and we were thrilled that she accepted.

We are so appreciative of all of the support you have given so far! We will be reaching out to all of you regarding the various donation level perks as soon as the campaign ends!

Mural Match THIS Week!

We have an exciting donor match for you, for one week only! Shawn Newman, in Systems Engineering at GE Aviation, has been a volunteer and supporter of WordPlay since our very beginnings in 2012. Thanks to his leadership along with a few other anonymous donors, if you donate by Tuesday, August 31st, your donation to our campaign will be DOUBLED until we reach $1,000 for the week! We are just past the half-way mark with 3 weeks left, so we need your help. Double the fun, double the impact. Please help us get to our goal – every little bit helps!

"One thing I’ve learned about being a math mentor at a local elementary school is that students were not necessarily having issues with the math itself, it was more an issue of not having the reading skills to understand the question to use the math that they had learned. WordPlay focuses on reading and writing skills for kids that I feel is a benefit to their overall ability to learn. I also like that it is a local organization that is working with local schools, plus WordPlay constantly tries new programs to help students as their needs change." – Shawn Newman


This is where photos will go once we build flickr integration


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