Three Cincinnatians win Globe Grants to display new, innovative work in OTR

A 360-degree map of Cincinnati, a pop-up eco store and a community internet radio station will be on display at the gallery next year.

click to enlarge Caroline Creaghead, Joi Sears and Phil Rowland (L-R) will be showing work at the Globe. - Photo: Carson Neff (Courtesy of People’s Liberty)
Photo: Carson Neff (Courtesy of People’s Liberty)
Caroline Creaghead, Joi Sears and Phil Rowland (L-R) will be showing work at the Globe.

A 360-degree map of Cincinnati, a pop-up eco store and a community internet radio station will be the installations on display next year at the innovative Globe, a storefront-like gallery located at 1805 Elm St. near Findlay Market. It is an arm of People’s Liberty, which describes itself as a “philanthropic lab that brings together civic-minded talent.”

The 2017 People’s Liberty Globe Grant — which grants $15,000 to each of its recipients — plucked three local artists from more than 50 applicants to install their ideas at the gallery. Each will receive a five-to-six-week slot during the upcoming year to showcase their creations.

Before the next year’s winners can begin, there is one remaining 2016 grantee to show his work. Starting Sept. 30, Michael DeMaria’s “Serendipity of Sound” will be on display.

It is an interactive sculpture that explores sound and light and includes ping-pong balls and music inside a Rube Goldberg-esque contraption. In April 2017, Phil Rowland’s 360-degree hand-drawn map of Cincinnati will come to life. 

“It’s almost like a Cincinnati seek-and-find,” Rowland says. He once created a similar map for a realty firm and wanted to recreate it. 

“When I heard about the Globe Grant, the first thing I thought of was, how cool would it be if you were standing in this room and 360 degrees around you, the floor and all four walls are hand-drawn with a map of Cincinnati?” he says. 

Tentatively called “We Are Here,” the installation has Rowland drawing the maps by hand, scanning them into a computer, projecting the images onto the gallery walls and then drawing them. 

Tablets will be camouflaged into the map so that when people touch them, a Cincinnatian will tell a story about his or her life.  

Rowland is not a Cincinnati native — he grew up in El Paso, Texas — but lived in Columbus for high school and attended the Columbus College of Art and Design. He moved to Oakley seven years ago and landed a job with GBBN Architects, where he works as a graphic designer. 

Eventually, he would like to generate maps for other cities, in a larger space. 

“What I really love to do is work with my hands because a lot of stuff you do as a graphic designer is very internal … and you have a finite audience who gets to see it,” he says. “The goal would be to make the map as big and as awesome as possible.” 

Rowland thinks it’ll take him 120-150 hours of sketching — and that’s before he enters the gallery space. “Even though I’vegot seven months, I feel like the pressure is on already,” he says.

Once Rowland is finished with the space, North Avondale native Joi Sears will open her Green Store in June. A self-described social entrepreneur, Sears became interested in eco-fashion and sustainability after moving to New York City to study acting. 

“I felt unfulfilled with life and (thought) I needed to be doing more for the world,” Sears says. “I was interested to see how the arts and creativity could be used to make those things better.” 

After receiving a master’s degree in art and social change from New York University, she found herself in Amsterdam transforming empty spaces into art pop-ups. She unofficially moved back to Cincinnati a couple years ago and divides her time between Hamilton and North Avondale. 

Her Globe venture will be a sustainable store where she’ll sell local and international eco-friendly goods, and then she’ll host workshops on topics like, “Why is box water better?” or “Why shouldn’t we use plastic?” She’ll also bring in a chef to cook food that would otherwise go to waste. 

“I really want to use this as a way to create an interesting prototype and test out some of my ideas to see how the community responds to them,” she says.

Another returnee from New York, Caroline Creaghead, will debut her internet radio station in August of next year. She graduated from Holmes High School in Covington and attended the University of Wisconsin, where she studied radio, TV and film. 

Like Sears, she ended up in New York for a spell. Once in the Big Apple, she garnered internships at The Colbert Report, and The Onion and segued into producing live comedy shows for Hannibal Buress and Eugene Mirman. 

“Comedy was fun, but it wasn’t what I was going to do forever,” she says. She moved back to Covington several years ago and briefly worked as director of creative enterprise for ArtWorks (where she and Sears were co-employees), and now is with an NYC-based tax firm called Brass Taxes, which aids creatives with their taxes. 

Taking a cue from past Globe grantees C. Jacqueline Wood’s Mini Microcinema and Julia Fischer’s Play Library, Creaghead thought, why not have a community radio station pop-up? 

“You don’t need a million dollars for investment to record things and put them online,” she says. “You don’t need a terrestrial radio tower to distribute things.” 

Anybody will be able to come in and record a show and have the freedom to say whatever they want “as long as their show is not hurting anybody,” she says. 

Experience isn’t necessary — she’ll offer free training sessions, and an engineer will be onsite. She says her idea, to be called Here Channel, is a little abstract right now, but when the channel goes live, people will be able to stream the programs on the internet. She’s hoping it can be a model to use if it’s successful. 

“The goal is to do this right, make it good, get people excited and bring people together to listen to each other on this elevated platform,” Creaghead says. “But also, I think it’s something that could grow bigger and continue on.”

For more information on GLOBE GALLERY, go to

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