You are invited to help showcase the rich heritage and cultural diversity of Yellow Springs. As a community, our roots run deep, with generations of activists, writers, artists and creative, compassionate people in all fields who are shining examples of the kindness that lives in the human heart.
Passionate about our creatives, we know the importance of supporting them financially, through commissions that reflect the gratitude we have for their work. Help Us Make A Nation (H.U.M.A.N.) is asking for your support in covering the costs of materials and fair labor by Pierre Nagley, the artist designing and painting this new mural celebrating Yellow Springs author Virginia Hamilton.
Hamilton, one of the shining stars in our literary heritage, coined the term “Liberation Literature” to explain her work. Among the many awards she received were the MacArthur Genius Award and the Coretta Scott King Award for Authors. In addition to being an award-winning author, Hamilton was just an all-around exemplary human being.
Hamilton received the King Award for Authors for a collection of beautiful folk tales entitled, The People Could Fly, which was illustrated by Caldecott Medal recipients Leo and Diane Dillon.
The People Could Fly highlights the power of the imagination to keep the spirit alive in the face of adversity. The book sets to page a story in which enslaved Africans fly away to escape the horrors of their captivity. Nagley is taking this book and theme as his inspiration in honoring Hamilton.
The arts enrich lives. Murals bring vibrance, beauty and meaning to brick and mortar - they sing life into abandoned spaces and give cinder blocks something to live for. They instill a sense of pride and togetherness in community members and inspire wonder in visitors. Because murals live in public spaces, they are accessible to all, regardless of race, class, gender or ability.
H.U.M.A.N. is partnering with Hamilton’s widower, the renowned poet Arnold Adoff, the Yellow Springs Community Foundation, the Arts and Culture Commission, and the Yellow Springs News to complete this piece. It will be located on the northeast side of the News building.
About Virginia Hamilton
Virginia Hamilton was an award-winning author, receiving every major award in youth literature. Hamilton wrote and published forty-one books spanning a multitude of genres. Woven into her books is a deep concern with memory, tradition, and generational legacy, and especially how they shape the lives of African Americans.
Hamilton was born in Yellow Springs in 1934 to a family who had lived in the area since her grandfather, Levi, arrived on the Underground Railroad. Graduating at the top of her high school class, she received a full scholarship to Antioch College and also studied at the Ohio State University. She moved to New York City, working as a museum receptionist, cost accountant, and nightclub singer, while she pursued her dream of being a published writer.
In New York, Hamilton met and married Adoff. In 1969, they built their “dream home” in Yellow Springs, on the last remaining acres of the old Hamilton/Perry family farm, and settled into a life of serious literary work and achievement. She died in 2002, survived by Adoff, her daughter, Leigh, and her son, Jaime. (Adapted from www.virginiahamilton.com)
About the artist
Pierre Nagley is a lifelong, multi-talented artist whose work covers a wide variety of subject matter. He has been painting murals in Yellow Springs since the 1990s. Some examples of Nagley’s work include the mural honoring George Floyd, the mural of faces at the Foundry Theater, the cave painting in Kieth’s Alley, and the Maxfield Parrish-inspired mural on the side of the Ohio Silver Company, among many others. Pierre utilizes a variety of media in his art, including, in addition to his murals, textiles and tattoos.
Leo and Diane Dillon were an award-winning husband-and-wife illustrating team that worked on over fifty childrens’ picture books. Their art accompanies the work of everyone from James Baldwin to Ray Bradbury. Versatility, diversity, research, and integrity were characteristics of the Dillons' work, which ranged from African folktales and Scandinavian epics to sci-fi and fantasy. (Adapted from www.nccil.org)
About the organizations supporting this project
The H.U.M.A.N. Mural Project is supported by H.U.M.A.N., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit based in Yellow Springs. This mural is part of a campaign collaborating with local artists to depict notable African Americans from Yellow Springs, to share their stories.
The Yellow Springs Community Foundation is a public charitable foundation established primarily to benefit the citizens and community of Yellow Springs and Miami Township.
The Arts and Culture Commission advises Village Council regarding the merits of any art concept, proposed art exhibit or installation, to ensure respect for other users of public places, as well as to convey the creative and welcoming nature of our community, to attract persons to the Village to enhance economic activity, and to increase community collaboration and inclusion, promote participation and contribution.
The Yellow Springs News is a 135+-year-old weekly newspaper that reaches over 1600 households in Yellow Springs, Greene County, Miami Valley, and points beyond. The success of the paper is due to its strategy of maintaining an exclusively local focus by addressing the needs and issues of the community which supports it.