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“I’m Still Listening” by Brent Billingsley, ArtsWave “Truth & Healing” Artist

“So my truth belongs to me. And in my truth, I think that love is greater than. It’s the journey that defines you.”

Brent Billingsley

2023 ArtsWave Black and Brown Artists Program

Creativity Squared is proud to support and partner with ArtsWave and to bring you this special interview series featuring the phenomenal artists and grant recipients selected for this year’s ArtsWave Black and Brown Artists Program.

Brent is a 2023 ArtsWave Black and Brown Artists Program Grant Recipient and “Truth & Healing” Artist.

The intention of these interviews is to give these talented and deserving artists another platform to share their art and truth expressed through it, as you never know what ripples will turn into waves. If you’re interested in working with, featuring, or supporting these artists, please don’t be shy about it.

Brent’s work is in the ArtsWave “Truth & Healing Artist Showcase” exhibition at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, OH, through September 10, 2023. The next podcast episode in this series spotlights the filmmakers whose work will be featured in another run of the showcase’s film festival at the Freedom Center on July 30.

This year’s theme is “Truth & Healing” and Creativity Squared host Helen Todd had the great honor of interviewing the artists during the opening showcase to learn more about their work and what truth and healing means to them.

Meet Brent Billingsley

Brent Billingsley is an artist and an empowering voice behind youth. He is also a Behavioral Health Specialist at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center/Psychiatry and the CEO of ARTE. ARTE is a non-profit geared toward the utilization of therapeutic artistic engagement and the performance arts. The goal is to utilize art as rhetorical vernacular and encourage people to do something they have never done before, acknowledge the exertion, forfeit maladaptive ideations and, upon one’s own artistic epiphany, act on it. Brent believes that the world can be changed through art, through children and through us. 

“I’m Still Listening”

A continuation of the “I’m Listening” project showcasing police/community engagement, the final product of “I’m Still Listening” is a line of hand-designed, costume-painted, artistically-rendered garments created by high school students. With content arising from a series of facilitated discussions with students, teachers and police, the creation of these t-shirts empower youth through creativity, design, relationship building, self-esteem, continuity of care, artistic drainage of emotions, focus and fun.

ArtsWave 2023 Black and Brown Artists Program Cohort

This year’s Black and Brown Artists Program cohort reflects a vibrant collection of diverse art forms created by an equally diverse group of 18 artists. Their mediums include couture fashion, painting, and sculpture — along with film, musical composition, podcasts, theater, dance, and multidisciplinary works.

The projects not only represent the African American experience, but also the experiences of those with Mexican, Lebanese, Somali, Argentinian, Zimbabwean, Guatemalan, and Indigenous heritage.

Listen to the accompanying podcast episode which features Brent:

Connect with Brent

Support Brent’s work and learn more about him by visiting his website, or give him a follow on Instagram (@brentlavelle1) and YouTube!

Learn more about ArtsWave and why we proudly support the organization in episode 9 “Art Bridges Cultural Divides” with Janice Liebenberg, VP of Equitable Arts Advancement at ArtsWave: https://bit.ly/Ep9JaniceLiebenberg.

Creativity Squared is a proud partner of ArtsWave and because it’s important to support artists like Michael, 10% of all revenue Creativity Squared generates goes to ArtsWave and directly supports the Black and Brown Artists Program.

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