Stories

Of Thee, I Sing: The Power of Public Art in Clark County

February 8, 2020Healthy and Vibrant Communities, Impact Stories

Clark County Community Foundation, in partnership with the Greater Clark Foundation, provided funding for Of Thee, I Sing, a contemporary 21-piece public art display featuring Clark County residents. Artist Marjorie Guyon and photographer Patrick J. Mitchell created the pieces to portray the true story of Hannah and her son Daniel, two enslaved persons who lived in Clark County, as written about by Lyndon Comstock in his book Before Abolition: African-Americans in early Clark County, Kentucky.

The project soon grew into something much larger: a telling of the story of the American

South, with Clark County serving as one microcosm of rural pre-abolition America. The pieces feature Clark County residents of all ages, races and genders to instill empathy into the hearts of viewers. The artists’ statement further describes the project:

“In these portraits, whiteness, blackness, and color may appear in unusual ways and settle in new places. Patterns illuminate and disguise. A parent proudly protects or fades away, neither thing in the child’s control. How do we shift how we see ourselves in each other? How do we create a place we all can call home?”

Clark County Community Foundation, a geographic component fund of BGCF, and the Greater Clark Foundation held a public opening in October. More than 100 community members attended to view the pieces and listen to Clark County’s first interracial choir. The pieces will be transformed into window tapestries and displayed throughout Clark County in 2020.

Learn more about Blue Grass Community Foundation’s network of endowed community funds and how they improve the quality of life across our region. Contact Jane Higgins, director of regional initiatives, at 859.225.3343 or jhiggin[email protected]. For Clark County inquiries, contact Halee Cunningham at [email protected].