âThe way this exhibition has unfolded with a body of work already defined and prepared for students to examine and put under the microscope has been truly special,â said Leone, inaugural community artist in residence at The Hub and guest researcher at The Hub. âWriters don’t always have the opportunity to be exposed like visual artists. I have written hundreds of poems – I write more than I present – and with my roots in criminal justice, I know what type of writer I am. I was able to share with the students the writing process, the structure and form of each piece, and what each piece represents in the world and its connections to great poets that I admire such as Paul Laurence Dunbar, Gwendolyn Brooks and Nikki Giovanni. . “
Among the poems selected are: âRitual: Forgivenessâ, designed by Colleen Glavic; âA Brother’s Loveâ, designed by Elliot Gilardi; and “Love In The Light”, designed by Gracie King.
Fan of typography and poetry, Misty Thomas-Trout, assistant professor of graphic design at UD, is happy to have provided her 13 students with a diverse and experiential community design project that has broadened their knowledge beyond the classroom. She especially wanted them to gain real-world experience so that they could evolve as designers able to work with a variety of clients.
âThe fact that the students see Sierra as their client and also have the opportunity to feel and visualize his work has been really nice,â said Thomas-Trout. âAs a black artist and poet, the content of his work is heavy and mainly outside the life experience of the students. So for me, the diverse and inclusive aspect that the University of Dayton always wants us to weave is (apparent). Getting these students to look at other cultures and understand the experiences of African Americans builds empathy and understanding. Designers should be too sensitive to what they come up with in the world. One of my students said it best: be comfortable with being uncomfortable. “
Having previously collaborated with Human Race Theater Company, Dayton Performing Arts Alliance, UD Theater and Wright State University, among others, Leone, winner of the Governor of Ohio Award and Kennedy Center Artist Fellowship 2020 finalist, continues to attract and ‘inspire local designers. His many commissions include pieces at the Levitt Pavilion and the Dayton Metro Library.
In turn, “Walking With Words,” which features an audio component allowing patrons to hear Leone recite his poetry while examining screens, extends beyond the Hub and travels through downtown Dayton and surroundings. The journey begins at the entrance to The Hub and finally at the exhibit located on the second floor. Next stop, cross the street to the Levitt Pavilion. From there, walk two blocks to the Dayton Subway Library. Guests are encouraged to complete the outing in the Wright Dunbar District to check out the final two stops at the Greater West Dayton Incubator and the EbonNia Gallery.
âThe Hub is a space for innovation, but it’s also a space for the arts,â said Vince Lewis, president of The Hub and director of the UD’s Crotty Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership which commissioned Leone’s poem. âSpirit of a Flyerâ for the inauguration of the Hub last time. March. âSierra’s poetry conveys the spirit of The Hub, which is a spirit of innovation, pioneers and risk takers. âWalking With Wordsâ clearly expresses (our goal) to create a multidisciplinary space that connects students and people from all backgrounds and disciplines and brings them together to create opportunities. “
Knowing how rare it is for a poet to be celebrated with full exposure, Leone is grateful for this moment. At the same pace, she hopes her work can continue to be a catalyst for productive discussions between all ethnicities and all zip codes to cultivate societal change.
“It is an honor beyond anything I could have imagined,” she said. âI hope the exhibition goes well because I want to open the door to others. And I also hope that the exhibition reminds people that we need to change the way we see society. Hope people have a paradigm shift in the way they interact with words. We walk with our words all the time but we don’t act. We have to physically change our perspective and consciously stop and consider the journey of another human being if their journey is different from ours. And I hope that once people leave the exhibition, they realize that different is actually perfect. “
HOW TO GET THERE
What: “Walk with the words”
Or: The Hub, 31 S. Main St., Dayton. Guests are encouraged to view the poetry of Sierra Leone throughout downtown Dayton at the Levitt Pavilion (134 S. Main St.) and the Dayton Metro Library (215 E. Third St.) and in the District of Wright Dunbar at the Greater West Dayton Incubator (1105 W. Third St.) and EbonNia Gallery (1135 W. Third St.).
When: From Monday November 1; A festive reception will take place on Friday, November 5 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
More information: Call The Hub at 937-739-6800 or visit thehubdayton.com.
FOR YOUR INFORMATION: Startup Grounds, a cafÃ© located in The Hub, created a special âSpirit of a Flyerâ mocha latte to celebrate the exhibition.