In light of COVID-19, AIA Cincinnati chapter events will be held virtually through June 2021, unless stated otherwise.

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Urban Design Salon: Art Practice and Community Engagement

April 14, 2021 @ 6:00 pm 7:30 pm


1.5 LU/HSW


6:00pm – 7:30 pm


Free for AIA members, affiliate members & non-members without continuing education credit

$25 for non-members seeking continuing education credit

Program Description

*Zoom* Urban Design Salon: Art Practice and Community Engagement

A discussion with Edgar Arceneaux of Studio Arceneaux, Los Angeles and Jonathan Sears of Par-Projects, Cincinnati, two artists whose work involves community engagement and creative place making. They will share how their endeavors negotiate the nexus between their art practice, and community outreach.

The program speaks to the wellness and wellbeing of the communities each artist engages through their art practice. It also presents models of how art, creative place making, and architecture can be transformative to communities that have historically been underserved, undervalued, and disenfranchised. This reflects an equitable access to design service the community typically would not have access to.

Registration required before noon on April 14.

Learning Objectives

  • To understand how art practices operate as a model for communities’ engagement and how that engagement can elevate human experience, encourage social interaction, and benefit the built environment.
  • To understand what role, responsibility, and/or opportunity the profession of Architecture has to address the effects of white supremacy on disadvantaged communities and how those aspects of professional practice can improve the physical, emotional, and social well-being of occupants, users, and any others affected.
  • To understand the challenges these practices face with regard to improving the physical, emotional, and social well-being of disadvantaged communities.
  • To understand how art practices and creative place making exists both locally and in larger urban centers with an array of diverse communities, and how the tools of intersectionality could aid in addressing both the legacy and continued stigma of white supremacy.


Edgar Arceneaux (b. 1972, Los Angeles) is an artist working in the media of drawing, sculpture, and performance, whose works often explore connections between historical events and present-day truths. He played a seminal role in the creation of the Watts House Project, a redevelopment initiative to remodel a series of houses around the Watts Towers, serving as director from 1999 to 2012. His work has been featured at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; the Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; Performa 15, New York; and the MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge,

Massachusetts, among other venues. Arceneaux is also an Associate Professor of Art for Roski School of Art and Design at USC; he lives and works in Pasadena, California.

Artist and Designer Jonathan Sears is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Professional Artistic Research (PAR-) Projects — a Northside, Cincinnati-based arts and education organization. As a lifelong artist — starting with elementary magnet school and culminating with a Master of Fine Arts degree (MFA) — Jonathan has served clients and exhibited his work, nationally. Along the way, he has also run a successful graphic design + branding business, and has taught upper level design at a handful of schools including University of Maryland, College Park. Today, he and Team PAR- are activating spaces for creative communities to gather, practice, exhibit, and enlighten. Most notably, PAR-Projects hosts Cincinnati’s first ever installation-based art gallery — one that sits adjacent to 8,000 square feet of outdoor event space that they own and operate. And most recently, their Studeō PAR-expansion project has created 15,000 square feet of indoor space, primarily dedicated to practicing artists. More can be found about his community-based efforts at

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