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As a new strain of coronavirus (COVID-19) swept through the world in 2020, preparedness plans, masking policies and more public policy changed just as quickly. WVXU has covered the pandemic's impact on the Tri-State from the very beginning, when on March 3, 2020, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine barred spectators from attending the Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus over concerns about the virus, even though Ohio had yet to confirm a single case of COVID-19.

Virtual Art Exhibit Examines COVID-19's Effect On Inner-City Youth, Families

Noah Hawes
Courtesy of Elementz
Raemiah, 12, reflected on the year 2020 while creating her contribution to the exhibit.

A virtual exhibit hosted by Elementz explores the effect of COVID-19 on Cincinnati's inner-city youth and their families. COVIsion-19runs Oct. 2 through Nov. 3.

The exhibit's goal is to use art and shared experiences to move the community toward a "more unified neighborhood," according to a statement.

"It's important that the community has an outlet to express itself and have a collective body of work that shows them they are not alone, during a time where we are disconnected from one another," says Curator Asha White. "This collection of work is not only important to the community who created it, but to people who are not a part of this community. I want them to see the inequities that have been revealed by COVID-19 that are reflected in the day-to-day experiences of residents in this low-income neighborhood."

The exhibit is comprised of video, photography, works on canvas, and audio pieces created by residents of Over-the-Rhine, specifically people living near Findlay Market. It's being presented virtually because of the ongoing pandemic.

"It's been a really great experience for Elementz to connect with the community and for the community to express themselves," White tells WVXU. "Especially to the Cincinnati neighborhood as a whole, although their experiences are very much the same as a lot of other people going through the pandemic, I think they also have some unique things to share."

Credit Noah Hawes / Courtesy of Elementz
Courtesy of Elementz
Raemiah, 12, reflected on the year 2020 and the rise of Tik Tok, missing out on birthdays, and a shift in how the Black Lives Matter movement is perceived: "A symptom of the pandemic where a country, paused from its daily routine, was forced to face the injustices they had previously been too preoccupied to see."

White says it's important to highlight voices of those whose voices are often not heard or are marginalized. Artists range from children to adults, with most in their preteen and teenage years.

There is a place to offer reflections at the end of the virtual exhibit "for people to just take a moment and think about how their own experiences with COVID are similar to or differ from those of the OTR community."

It's a moment to share and engage, she adds.

Senior Editor and reporter at WVXU with more than 20 years experience in public radio; formerly news and public affairs producer with WMUB. Would really like to meet your dog.