BLHS Art Department welcomes resident artist


The BLHS Art Department welcomes resident artist Richard Duarte Brown. This residency is made possible by the Ohio Arts Council’s TeachArtsOhio grant.

Duarte was named to the 2022 Aminah Robinson Fellowship program and was also a recipient of the 2022 Governor’s Award for the Arts.

Visual Arts Educator, Mrs. Jennifer Davis, was awarded a TeachArtsOhio grant for $12,600 from the Ohio Arts Council to support her work with Resident Artist Duarte Brown during the 2023-24 academic year.

Great things are ahead for Mrs. Davis and the BLHS students as she seeks to integrate unique arts learning experiences into her students’ learning, which continues to be more important than ever.

Richard “Duarte” Brown is a master artist with the TRANSIT ARTS Youth Program and the Ohio Alliance for the Arts Education’s Art in the house program. For more than 20 years, Brown has dedicated his talent to helping young people in Columbus through countless programs including CAPACITY (CAPA’s Youth Art Program), the Short Stop Youth Center, the King Arts Complex, Ohio Alliance for Arts Education’s (and formerly GCAC’s) Artists-in-Schools program, GCAC’s Children of the Future, Ebony Boys, Art Safe and VSA Ohio. Brown has also worked as a high school art instructor at the Arts and College Preparatory Academy in Columbus. His murals can be seen throughout the city bringing comfort and inspiration to countless viewers. Many of his students have gone on to college and careers in the creative industries and many others have simply become important contributors to the well-being of our community by embracing their responsibilities as parents, audience members, arts consumers and more. Brown has the special gift of engaging people from all backgrounds and bringing them together through his creative spirit. Deeply influenced by Mr. William Steele, his fifth-grade teacher, Brown wrote a book in 2012-The Steele Influence- dedicated to Steele’s profound impact on his life. He graduated from Ohio Dominican and received one of the highest awards from the university. Brown has carried on the gift of an educator who has the power to change a child’s life and inspires young people throughout Columbus to be resourceful and relentless in following their dreams.

The project entitled Creations Making Connections will take place at Benjamin Logan High School. Guest artist Richard Duarte Brown will join Mrs. Davis to collaborate with Benjamin Logan administration, staff and students. The team of teachers, artist and administration will formulate cross-curricular activities which develop into Creations Making Connections. Throughout the school year, the participants involved will discover they have more connections than ever realized.

In the art room, students will benefit greatly as Duarte shares his love of painting and mixed media. As students broaden and strengthen their art skills through Duarte’s teaching, they will also be making meaningful connections with Duarte, Mrs. Davis, and one another. All involved in the collaborative classroom projects will be impacted by Duarte’s gift of building relationships. Art skills and relationships will develop simultaneously as Creations Making Connections form community in the classroom and school.

Staff members will participate in a professional development workshop that focuses on Creations Making Connections. Duarte, administration, and the music/art/vo-ag teachers will develop collaborative projects for the staff to create in groups. Duarte has a way of getting all workshop participants, no matter their age or skill level, to join in the art-making process with a carefree style. In that moment of creating art with Duarte, anxious feelings seem to dissipate. Much like the art classroom activities and project-making process among students, the staff will also experience Creations Making Connections. Staff members will learn that they too have many connections during our art-making process together.

During a cross-curricular program designed by Duarte, art teacher Mrs. Davis, the choir, band and vo-ag teachers, students will collaborate on a project. Band and choir students will develop music themes/imagery ideas. Visual arts students will design large drawings of the themes and image ideas onto plexiglass or wood. Vo-ag students will cut wood and plexiglass pieces for the art, as well as assist with framing and displaying the large-scale artworks. Lastly, the art students will paint the wood and plexiglass pieces utilizing skills learned from Duarte. The culminating artwork will be featured at the Benjamin Logan band/choir concerts and art shows for all to view and appreciate as the artwork will be permanently displayed in the high school auditorium.

Mrs. Davis shared, “Duarte will be with us during normal school hours every Tuesday during the ’23-’24 school year. Our school is going to be greatly blessed by Duarte and the residency this year! My art students will be forever impacted.”

As part of the Ohio Arts Council’s TeachArtsOhio grant, Duarte and a collaborative team of Benjamin Logan educators (art, music, vo-ag) will also hold a professional development workshop with BLHS staff during the month of February.

The team is very grateful to Governor Mike DeWine, Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted, and members of the Ohio General Assembly for acknowledging the importance of public funding for the arts through the state budget.

The following video gives a glimpse of who Duarte is and the impact our community can anticipate this year. (The video was featured when he received the Governor’s Award for the Arts in 2022). You can watch the video here.

Mrs. Davis first worked with Duarte and Donte, the young man who shares in the video, about 10 years ago when they came to BLMS for a collaborative project.