The Marion Voices Folklife + Oral History Program is Marion County’s countywide folklife, cultural arts, & oral history-for-social-justice program, focused on mobilizing cultural + documentary arts + the critical potential of heritage/memory to catalyze more just futures + more resilient cultural arts livelihoods in Marion County, Ohio.
~*~ UPCOMING EVENTS ~*~
~*~ PAST PROGRAMS + EVENTS ~*~
Join us for Marion County’s 2020 Juneteenth Celebration, organized by the Peace & Freedom Committee & Lion Hearted Entertainments, and co-sponsored by the Marion Voices Folklife + Oral History Project at the Marion County Historical Society! Come commemorate Black freedom struggles past and ongoing as we celebrate Black cultural artists & tradition-bearers across Marion County with a series of moving performances & demonstrations, MC’d by Anthony Marks, Jr. (Lion Hearted Entertainments) & Johnnie L. Jackson (Marion Voices // Marion City Schools). Featuring Marion County or “Marion Made” Black cultural artists LaCosta Mayes, Ms. Harriet Sims, Ms. Jessie Thompson, TaJa McFly & House of Fly, Anthony Marks, Jr., and video submissions from around the community! Friday, June 19th, 2020: 5-6:30pm EST. Zoom link in flyer above; and also available streaming via FacebookLive at the Peace & Freedom Committee + Marion County Historical Society Facebook pages. Show up to recognize histories of Emancipation & freedom struggles & the ongoing work of Emancipation — towards a more just future, in Marion County, & beyond.
~*~ BLACK LIVES MATTER + ANTI-RACISM SOLIDARY STATEMENT FROM MARION VOICES ~*~
The Marion Voices Folklife + Oral History Program resoundingly stands with and for Black lives, in Marion County, Ohio, and beyond. We forcefully condemn all acts of police brutality, murder, and violence, aided and abetted by everyday acts of racism undergirded by structural-systemic anti-Black racism and white supremacy in this country. Marion Voices is an abolitionist project; and we stand with our Black and brown communities and organizers and protestors everywhere in demanding an end to policing, incarceration, and violence against Black lives. We stand for vibrant, beautiful, resilient, visionary Black futures. For us all.
ABOUT MARION VOICES
Learn more about the history, mission, and vision of the Marion Voices Folklife + Oral History Project — a collaborative program of Marion County Historical Society alongside Black Heritage Council, Logos Ministries, WDIF LP-FM, OSU Extension in Marion County, Terradise Nature Center, Marion Public Library, and Marion City Schools. Our work is grounded in a shared vision of racial and social justice and increased community understand through the powerful work of the “listening arts.”
Here, find a timeline of plans for our Marion Voices project work from 2019-2021, as we roll out our Black history oral history project (1960s-Present) alongside our countywide folk/traditional arts survey. We are grateful to the support of Ohio Humanities and Ohio Arts Council for making this work possible. Check this page often for upcoming Marion Voices events in & around the county!
Learn more about the practices of oral history, community-based folk arts documentation, and the ethics that shape how & why we do our work. Here, we also share more about what to expect from an oral history interview, and our definition of community-based folk/traditional/cultural arts and folklife traditions. Click here to see if you or someone you know would like to share your family’s histories, memories, or cultural traditions with our project!
PROJECT TEAM // CONTACT US
Learn more about our vibrant & dynamic project team — including our core team, our community scholars, and our consulting humanities advisors — and our network of visionary community partner organizations.
You’ll also find contact information, ways to reach out to our team, and most important of all, ways to recommend yourself, a friend, neighbor, or family member, to be documented for our project!
Marion Voices seeks to amplify under-heard histories & cultural traditions in Marion County: from our county’s Black, brown, immigrant/newcomer, rural, queer, working-class and disabled communities.
Founded in 2017, when Marion Voices Community Coordinator Johnnie Jackson and Project Director Jess Lamar Reece Holler met at a protest to take down the Columbus statue at City Hall in Columbus, Ohio, the Marion Voices project has worked steadily to mobilize the democratizing and power of oral history and folklife documentation to catalyze critical community conversations — about identity, history, culture, difference, and our collective futures — to build new & strengthen old coalitions for racial, economic, educational, & environmental justice in North-Central Ohio.
Marion Voices is housed at the Marion County Historical Society, helmed by Executive Director Brandi Wilson, but we are a grassroots, community-collaborative collective, bringing together a network of allied racial, economic, & social justice organizations & activists across Marion County. Our Marion Voices family includes activists & representatives working with Marion County’s Black Heritage Council, Logos Christian Ministries, OSU-Extension Marion County, WDIF “TruBlues975” LP-FM, Terradise Nature Center, Marion Public Library, and Marion City Schools, among others.
Developed through a year-long Community Planning Process supported by Ohio Humanities in 2018, Marion Voices is grateful for the support of the Marion Community Foundation, Ohio Humanities, the Ohio History Fund, United Way of North-Central Ohio, and Rotary Club of Marion County as we launch our core community-collaborative project work for 2019-2021: a dynamic series of community co-curated series of pop-up exhibits and events, focused on Black life, history, and cultural arts // traditions in Marion County, 1960s-Now, which will culminate in MCHS’s first-ever community co-curated permanent exhibit on Black Life in Marion County, slated to open in November 2021. Along the way, we will be launching two entirely open/public community co-curation cycles — one in Fall 2020, and the other in Spring 2021 — to build pop-up exhibits & Black history/cultural arts events to practice curating together as a community, & to amplify Black history & culture in Marion County in anticipation of our final exhibit production cycle. Our exhibit production cycle will start in Summer 2021 — kicked off by a weekend-long Marion Voices Summer Institute in Cultural Documentation. Watch this space for more on this soon!
This work follows on the heals of our ambitious 2019-2020 project: the Marion Voices Pilot Countywide Folk/Cultural Arts Survey + Needs Assessment — made possible by an ArtsNEXT grant from the Ohio Arts Council — which focused on documenting and exhibiting the informal expressive creative traditions of Marion County’s underserved communities, and which resulted in the documentation of over thirty-five Marion County cultural artists & organizations, the creation of our Marion Voices Culture Keepers Roster, and Marion Voices co-sponsorship & co-production, along with the Peace + Freedom Committee, of Marion County’s Juneteenth 2020 Livestream Celebration.
For more on our oral history and folklife methods, ethos, and project timeline, see UPCOMING EVENTS.
At Marion Voices, we strive to enact deep diversity & inclusion work and racial justice, in part, through a deep attention to economic justice, equity, & ethics in community-based cultural work. We strive to achieve this work through a unique attention to economic justice, fair compensation, & recognition of the labor of community collaborators that we call the Marion Voices Equity Budgeting Model. Equity Budgeting is both a praxis and a movement; and we offer workshops, tutorials, & consultancies to train other practitioners + organizations in our model. For more on our equity budgeting praxis and our philosophies of community collaboration, see EQUITY BUDGETING: A MANIFESTO.
Get involved & stay up to date on Marion Voices!
Join our Marion Voices Folklife + Oral History Program mailing list for timely updates on our project events, next steps, fundraising efforts, and for early access to our interviews and documentary materials!