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Home Free lives on

Hamilton (OH) – The Fitton Center for Creative Arts Home Free exhibition continues to make history.

Co-curated by Dr. Nicole Fleetwood and Aimee Wissman, the show became the first in Fitton Center history preserved in a comprehensive exhibition catalog.

Home Free – subtitled Ohio Artists Envision Prison Abolition - featured work by the Returning Artists Guild created by people currently and formerly incarcerated in Ohio prisons. The exhibition ran at the Fitton Center from October 21, 2023 through January 5, 2024.

The first copies arrived at the Fitton Center just prior to the exhibition closing. Word spread quickly, leading to a live segment on WKRC-TV Local 12 January 8 to discuss the success of the exhibition and the resulting catalog.

Published by Monolith Press in conjunction with Fleetwood’s Marking Time initiative, the catalog is 80 pages, full color, with high-quality photos of the galleries and individual artworks by Tony Walsh, artist biographies and an interview with RAG cofounders Wissman and Kamisha Thomas.

Fleetwood, Steven G. Fullwood and Kris Graves edited the catalog, which was designed by Caleb Cain Marcus of Luminosity Lab.

Each artist will receive a total of 10 copies,” Fleetwood said. “RAG will receive a total of 100 copies and so will the Fitton Center. The publisher will also make a limited number available for sale on its website.” 

More than simply preserving the show, the catalog serves as a catalyst for the future of Home Free.

“Having this catalog will help Aimee & Kamisha pitch the exhibition to other galleries,” said Fitton Center Executive Director Ian MacKenzie-Thurley. “These works may continue to be seen around the state and around the country at other venues, but the Fitton Center name will continue to be attached to the exhibition.

“This project was the work of several years, led by our Director of Exhibitions Cathy Mayhugh. With her guidance, Home Free was fully curated for - and in partnership with - the Fitton, which we are extremely proud of.”

The Fitton Center plans to present copies of the catalog to the Hamilton and Fairfield branches of the Lane Library, the school libraries at Fleetwood’s alma maters of Hamilton High School and Miami University, and Wissman’s alma mater at Lakota West High School.

The presentation at the Fairfield Lane Library is scheduled for 4 p.m. Wednesday, January 10.

The Hamilton Lane Library receives its catalogs at 11:30 a.m. Thursday, January 11, at the Fitton Center.

On the academic side, Hamilton High School receives its copies at 10 a.m. Monday, January 22, with additional school presentation announcements coming soon.

“This really was a hometown exhibition,” McKenzie-Thurley said. “We had artists from all over the state, and this exhibition may well have life beyond our galleries, but it was born and bred right here in Hamilton and Butler County.

“We want to help make Home Free available and share it with anyone following in the footsteps of the local people who created it. Maybe the next Nicole Fleetwood or Aimee Wissman will see this catalog at the local library or at their school and feel empowered to ask tough questions they can answer through their own art.”

The Fitton Center for Creative Arts is located at 101 S. Monument Avenue on the Riverfront in downtown Hamilton, Ohio.

Building Community Excellence through the Arts and Culture

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