Growing Ambitions for Price Hill Creative Festival

The free Price Hill Creative Community Festival returns for its second year Friday and Saturday in partnership with the Contemporary Arts Center.

Aug 2, 2017 at 11:56 am
click to enlarge MYCincinnati orchestra head Eddy Kwon is the festival’s creator. - Photo: Jesse Fox
Photo: Jesse Fox
MYCincinnati orchestra head Eddy Kwon is the festival’s creator.

As the free Price Hill Creative Community Festival returns this Friday and Saturday for a second year, its scope has broadened. It will again be hosted by Price Hill’s MYCincinnati youth orchestra, but this year the festival occurs in partnership with the Contemporary Arts Center and will feature performances by MYCincinnati’s five artists-in-residence, who work with the student musicians.  

The festival’s core goals of embracing inclusivity and showcasing the talents of MYCincinnati musicians remain, according to MYCincinnati director and festival creator Eddy Kwon. 

“The idea of the festival is that if we can embody an empathetic community within performance, we can open up the walls of the community to embrace everyone in that space,” he says. “Those core values can radiate.” 

The partnership made sense to CAC Performance Curator Drew Klein. “We’ve worked with MYCincinnati on several projects over the last several years, and have been consistently amazed by the students’ musicianship, the vision of the organization and their dedication to the community in Price Hill,” he says via email. 

One of the five artists-in-residence is New York City-based Kaneza Schaal, who will present an in-progress version of a work titled JACK&JILL. Schaal’s piece, examining a former inmate’s transitional experiences after re-entering society, will have its world premiere on Feb. 15-16, 2018 as part of the CAC’s Black Box Performance Series. The CAC commissioned JACK&JILL.

“Kaneza fully believes in assembling a performance with many hands and voices involved,” Klein says. “We always intended to have her come to Cincinnati in advance of the premiere to strengthen the bond and the relationship to the community here.” 

Rounding out the roster are Cincinnati-based artists, including poet and musician Siri Imani, musician Jordana Greenberg, poet Elese Daniel and interdisciplinary artist trio Intermedio. 

“My mom’s a poet, so I grew up in the poetry scene,” says Imani, who is also a member of a four-person creative collective, Blvck Seeds, that seeks to promote positive urban culture. “So I always had all this influence. I had multiple outlets that I could use to express myself.” 

With Blvck Seeds, Imani visits area schools to work with students. Her project Lost Generation, to be performed at the festival, was inspired by these students’ and her own struggles.

It addresses feelings of being overlooked by older generations through dance, music, poetry and visual art. A handful of Imani’s students are featured, performing explorations of issues important to them like mental health, sexuality, homelessness, bullying and more. 

An ensemble of MYCincinnati musicians will perform music for Lost Generation composed by Kwon and Blvck Seeds member Aziza Love. 

Greenberg’s project explores protest songs from around the globe, with original lyrics and verses created and performed by MYCincinnati musicians. Daniel’s project investigates the idea of reconnecting with family as an adult, with recorded telephone conversations and a performance by the student musicians. 

For Intermedio’s contribution, MYCincinnati students are coupled with a light-based sculpture and outfitted with contact microphones on their instruments for an improvised, immersive audio and visual experience. 

In addition to these projects, a number of additional performers and artists will be featured at the festival. The festival headquarters is at MYCincinnati’s Warsaw Avenue Firehouse (3120 Warsaw Ave.), but there are events at three other locations, including the Price Hill branch of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County — part of Kwon’s outreach attempt.

“This year and in the years to come, I want to make sure we are trying to more intentionally engage our non-MYCincinnati Price Hill neighbors,” Kwon says.

The PRICE HILL CREATIVE COMMUNITY FESTIVAL occurs 5 p.m.-midnight Friday and 4 p.m.-midnight Saturday. More information: