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Arts and Culture Public Officials Breakfast 2015


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What Noise Does Your Silence Make?

As I was contemplating the noise of silence one day I came across the passage you see to the right, and I felt it was very appropriate for where I am now, personally and for the work that I am involved in…

Oh please excuse my manners…

Greetings, my name is Gwendolyn Garth. I am an artist by Divine design and a Community Activist by choice, and I have no plan B. I seek a new story, the creation of a new situation one of exuberance, of peace, of harmony and of love.

I was born here in Cleveland, Ohio and I have lived in 4 Cleveland neighborhoods: Hough, Central, Fairfax and Glenville. I love my hometown, and it is my desire to paint this city the colors of love. 

I was born in 1951 and many of you know what the racial climate of this country was in the 50’s, and in reality, nothing much has really changed, now in 2016. There are still some unofficial and unspoken rules that exist between the races. The "elephant of racism" has remained on the sofa of America's living room—asleep.  

In the last few years the overt rash of police shootings and killings of people of color (often with no consequences meted out) across this nation, is evidence that “the elephant of racism” has awakened.

So, my troubled self asked my peaceful self, “So what we gonna do?”

To be silent has never been an option for me. To be silent means to give my tacit approval. I do not condone injustice anywhere, in any form. Rioting was not an option either. I have lived in and through the Hough Riots in 1966 and the Glenville Riots in 1968. This city still has remnants of that anger and has not fully recovered.

I’m also not angry any more; I’ve learned through trial and error and from the history books that anger only clouds the vision and torments the soul. So, when one is open and ready to receive the Universe, it will provide answers and tools to make a difference. The Universe has blessed and honored me to journey with a group of like minded people, the Neighbor Up Network, who are doers—a subversive micro-society of grass-roots people, if you will—that believes all people matter. Everyone has a voice and should be given space in which to be heard, to create and to re-create.

Those of us who belong to the Neighbor Up Network don’t just sit there. We do something. We talk a little while, come up with a plan, and then we get out there and make things happen. We are action oriented. 

That’s how “Make Art Talk Race” came about. It was not my idea alone; I am really just the “art” part. “Make Art Talk Race” is a living, working, pictorial definition of a collective thought.  “Make Art Talk Race” and its related program, “A Bridge That Bridges” are movements—they are calls to action.

Please view our video, consider joining us, and write to me and tell me: What noises does your silence make?


This blog is used under license and was submitted by volunteer contributor and artist, Gwendolyn Garth. The opinions represented here are the authors' own and do not necessarily reflect the views of CPAC. CPAC does not endorse the purchase of products or services by its guest bloggers. We thank all writers for volunteering their expertise with us in order to continue to strengthen, unify and connect greater Cleveland’s arts and culture community.

Categories: Arts and Safety, artsandhealth, communication, community, community organizing, public benefit, Race, social justice


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