Today we celebrate the freedom, education, and achievements of African Americans and take time to reflect on the contributions which have shaped our society. Juneteenth (short for “June Nineteenth”) marks the day when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas in 1865 to take control of the state and ensure that all enslaved people be freed. The troops’ arrival came a full two and a half years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. Juneteenth honors the end to slavery in the United States and is considered the longest-running African American holiday. On June 17, 2021, it officially became a federal holiday.
AIGA Cincinnati is proud to support all of the Black designers and creatives in our community today and every day. We have chosen a handful of our design week events featuring Black professionals, and are thankful for the ideas and experiences shared. There is a lot of content to absorb from these amazing presentations. We recommend bookmarking this page and coming back to these talks throughout the week to get the most out of them all.
According to the 2019 AIGA Design Census, 3% of designers are Black. Where are the Black Designers is an initiative, platform, and community by and for Black Designers that was established in 2020 that aims to heal, support, amplify, and make space for the entire spectrum of Black creativity while also decolonizing design through their efforts. If you are a Black Creative, consider joining their slack community of 1500+ Black Designers. If you’re an Ally, the best way to support the furthered growth of this community is by donating, but the slack community is also open to Allies! Learn more about WATBD Communities.
AIGA Cincinnati is dedicated to amplifying the voices of those on the forefront of change. As a chapter we strive to be inclusive and aim to level the playing field by providing designers with the tools and resources they need to be successful. If you have an itch to share something with the community we welcome you to submit your ideas, so we can chat about planning an event together.
Eso Tolson is a lettering artist and brand strategist who creates work rooted in affirmation, pride, and community that allows people to feel safe and inspired. As a lover of community, pop culture, and inner-city life, he uses lettering to highlight current events and promote positive social messages and affirmations.
Mike Nicholls – The 3 Ions of Design: PassION, VisION, and MissION
Mike Nicholls is a creative director, brand strategist, publisher, visual designer, and illustrator. He translates ideas into visionary creative solutions utilizing over 20 years of design experience and natural talent. As UMBER’s creative director, he visually designs and illustrates the perspectives of each release’s contributors, from curation of content to final magazine design. As a founder, Mike is responsible for content creation, community engagement, and managing an amazingly talented team. He also enjoys flicking dust balls off of his turntable needles.
Katrina Lenzly – Advancing our Industry | The Power of Creative & Cultural Diversity
Katrina—J—Lenzly is an award-winning art director, performing artist, and public speaker also known as “King Cooley”. Based in Atlanta, Georgia, Katrina/Cooley is known for her human-centered and experiential approach to design and music. As one of the few Black, female Art Directors in her field, Katrina is trailblazing as an advocate for authenticity in workplace culture. She spends her time mentoring junior designers and speaks with design agencies and leadership teams about the power of creative and cultural diversity.
Ciara LeRoy – Why Not Us
Ciara LeRoy is a Cincinnati-based independent artist specializing in hand lettering, illustration, murals, and embroidery. Whether you’re looking for impactful art for your next social media campaign, a mural in your brick & mortar shop, or some weird and wonderful fine art for your home, Ciara’s studio, Pretty Strange Design, has what it takes to give your brand, business, or living room an artistic edge that differentiates you from the flock.
Terresa Moses – Design for Liberation
Terresa Moses (she/her) is a proud Black queer woman dedicated to the liberation of Black and brown people through art and design. As a designer and illustrator, her work focuses on race, identity, and social justice. She advocates for positive change in her community using creativity as tools of community activism like her recent solo exhibition, Umbra. Terresa is the Creative Director at Blackbird Revolt, a social justice-based design studio. She is also an Assistant Professor of Graphic Design at the University of Minnesota’s College of Design (CDes) and the Director of the CDes Design Justice Network.
Celebrating Cincinnati’s Black Creatives
We hope to feature more talent in the future and are committed to inclusion and diversity goals within our local chapter and the events that we produce throughout the year. If you have an idea to share, please fill out our call for presenters form
We are also looking for nominations to add more talent to our board of volunteers. If you know someone that is driven and passionate about community, please nominate them (or yourself) to join the AIGA Cincinnati board.
Our mission is to help local creatives reach their full potential because we believe the growth of one is the success of all.
Joining our local chapter’s board means being an advocate for the Cincinnati creative community where we independently support our small region while contributing to the national organization’s overall goal to advance design as a professional craft, strategic advantage, and vital cultural force. AIGA Cincinnati is one of 70+ local chapters for AIGA and holds its own 501(c)(3) status as a nonprofit organization. Our small but mighty team of volunteers represents an ever-passionate approach to advancing design in and around the Cincinnati area.