As Marion County’s countywide folklife, cultural arts, & public history organization, Marion Voices is proud to offer a wide range of community co-curated arts, culture, heritage, & historic preservation programs: some annually, some as recurring programs, & some as one-off projects.

Our programs, on the whole, span & combine formats & methodologies from the fields of public folklore, community arts organizing, oral history, public history, & community organizing; & make use of genres & forms such as exhibits, publications, historical markers, National Register of Historic Places nominations, performances, workshops, narrative stage panels, festivals, apprenticeship programs, oral history projects, folklife fieldwork surveys, & folk arts residencies.

Evergreen // Ongoing Programs:

  • Marion Black Joy Summerfest: Marion Voices‘ signature festival — celebrating Black cultural arts, history, heritage, & futures in Marion County — traditionally held on the first Saturday after Juneteenth at Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Park on Marion’s West Side
  • Marion Voices in the Schools K-12 Folklife + Cultural Arts Residencies: annual program, in collaboration with Marion-area public & parochial schools. Residency partnerships change from year-to-year; or may continue for multiple years at a single school site. For most years, we run 2 residencies in 2 different districts. Past MVITS residency partner schools have included: Garfield Elementary (Marion City Schools), Marion St. Mary School, River Valley Middle School, & Pleasant Secondary & High School. For the 2024-2025 school year, we expect to be in-residence with Marion St. Mary School (third year!) & Grant Middle School (first year)!
  • Marion Voices Teaching Artists’ Training Program: training & certification program — offered in support of our Marion Voices in the Schools K-12 residency program — that trains community-based folk & cultural artists without prior K-12 classroom teaching experience or licensure to be successful teaching artists through artists-in-residency programs with Marion Voices or beyond. TATP was offered annually in 2021 + 2022; & has transitioned to an as-needed 1:1 model as we have built substantial cohorts of trained artists ready to work at school sites throughout the community.
  • Annual Marion Voices Countywide Folklife + Cultural Arts Survey: using folklife, oral history, photographic, & video documentation to survey, document, interview & amplify folk & traditional artists in various genres working across Marion County
  • Marion County Folk + Cultural Arts Apprenticeship Program: paid opportunities for community tradition-bearers & culture keepers to train a mentee within their or across a different cultural community in a specific folk/cultural arts genre. Apprenticeships include targeted professional development training & a culminating showcase event.
  • Marion Voices Summer Institute // Marion Voices Back-to-School Institute Workshop Series: whenever funding allows, Marion Voices offers seasonal workshop series on topics in documentary arts, public arts public history, cultural studies, non-profit management, & diversity/equity/inclusion. We last offered the Marion Voices Back-to-School Institute in September 2023, with a special run of three workshops.

Current Special Projects (2024):

  • Marion County Cultural Heritage Assets Mapping Project (CHAMP) — countywide participatory cultural heritage assets mapping, facilitated by Marion Voices. Seven sessions will take place across four geographic & three cultural/identity communities in June 2024. Zines/reports will be developed from each session — collated together into a final countywide report, which will be shared back with participants & key stakeholders to set a blueprint for arts, culture, & heritage investments in the county for decades to come.
  • Making It: Arts Economies & Arts Livelihoods in Marion County — allied project documenting artists’ livelihoods & economies in Marion County, to help Marion Voices better advocate for paid opportunities for artists & culture-keepers
  • North-Central Ohio Cultural Heritage Assets Mapping Project (CHAMP) & Folklife Survey: In late summer // early fall 2024, we will begin expanding Marion Voices collaborations through organizing conversations with arts-, culture-, & heritage-industry partners across a twelve-county North-Central Ohio region. A single organizing meeting in each county will be paired with a countywide windshield (driving) folklife survey: resulting in a county cultural heritage assets + folklife report for each county, plus a new website & directory designed to better organize arts, culture, & heritage organizations & actors in the region.

Past Marion Voices Special Projects:

  • Juneteenth 2020 Online Celebration (June 2020)
  • This Christmas: Black Marion Celebrates Zoom Event (Winter 2020)
  • Marion County Historical Society Black History Exhibit (Summer 2021)
  • Marion Black History Walking Tour Book + Oral History Project (2020-2022)
  • Preservation Justice Workshop Series + Co-Curation Cycle (Spring 2023)