Summer 2024 Events:

Check back often for updates on Marion Voices busy slate of June 2024 programs — including our upcoming Marion Black Joy Summerfest 2024 (June 29th, 2024 || 12-4PM || MLK Park in Marion), & our Marion County Cultural Heritage Assets Mapping Project (CHAMP) sessions — scheduled throughout Marion County on weekends in June. Our Making It: Arts Livelihoods & Arts Economies in Marion County Artists’ Survey also opens on June 1st, & remains open for responses until 11:59PM on June 23rd — if you are a working artist or culture-keeper of any kind in Marion County, please help us out & record your response by then!

Marion County CHAMP Sessions: Various Dates (Weekends in June); Refer to Schedule Above or at marionvoices.org/CHAMP
June 29th, 12-4PM: Marion Black Joy Summerfest 2024 at MLK Park in Marion. Detailed event schedule available at marionvoices.org/MBJSF

Past Marion Voices Events:


JOIN US ON SATURDAY, JUNE 26th for MARION COUNTY’S *FIRST EVER* BLACK JOY SUMMERFEST! The Marion Voices Folklife + Oral History Program’s Spring 2021 Community Co-Curation Cohort (Ms. Linda Sims, Pastor Jackie Peterson, Ms. Tara Dyer, Johnnie Jackson, Anthony Marks, Jr., Micah Walker, Primrose Igonor, Ms. Kathleen Clemons-Keller, Ms. Jessie Thompson, Mr. Mike Brewer, Jess Lamar Reece Holler) are thrilled to announce the culmination of Marion Voices‘ Spring 2021 Community Co-Curation Cycle — the first-ever MARION BLACK JOY SUMMERFEST! MARION BLACK JOY SUMMERFEST is a day-long event celebrating the radical heritage of Black joy as liberation & resistance in Marion County! Come join us at Martin Luther King, Jr. Park on Marion’s West Side on June 26th, 2021 — one week after Juneteenth — from 12-7PM for a fun-filled, powerful festival celebrating the legacy of Black Joy in Marion County!

Marion Voices‘ first-ever MARION BLACK JOY SUMMERFEST will feature three pop-up exhibits/installations on BLACK LEISURE in MARION COUNTY, BLACK TRAVEL & VACATIONING in MARION COUNTY, & BLACK SUMMER TRADITIONS // FOLKLIFE in MARION COUNTY co-curated by the program team, alongside an amazing line-up of cultural & performing artists & musicians on our Cultural/Performing Arts Stage, narrative stages featuring live oral history interviews with Black tradition-bearers & memory-keepers in Marion County, line dancing demonstrations & workshops, card game tournaments (spades, dominos, bid whist, & corn-hole), & pop-up Black History & Genealogy Workshop + Digitization Days booth hosted by the Marion County Historical Society! Food will be available by purchase from beloved local Black-owned foodways businesses Attaboy’s, Pop’n & Roll’n, & Katie Reece! We’re also proud to be offering a ** FREE COVID-19 VACCINE CLINIC ** sponsored by Black Heritage Council + brought to us by Marion Public Health! If you have not yet been vaccinated & are seeking more information, this is the perfect opportunity to learn more about the vaccine & consider getting an on-site vaccination, conveniently located right in the middle of our day-long festival! 

NOTE: COVID-19 is very much still present in our community, & Marion County’s vaccination rates are lower than the state average. As such, the event organizers request that all attendees — especially those who are not vaccinated — kindly wear masks & maintain social distance at our event to ensure the safety of everyone in our community. Thank you for your co-operation & understanding! 

MARION BLACK JOY SUMMERFEST 2021 is made possible, in part, thanks to the generous support of the Wopat Community Fund at the Marion Community FoundationOhio Humanities, the Ohio History Fund, the National Endowment for the Arts, United Way of North-Central Ohio, & Rotary Club of MarionWe are so grateful for both our local & statewide sponsors for making Marion Voices‘ 2021 Community Co-Curation programming possible! Thank you to our funders!

This project has been made possible in part by a grant from the Ohio History Connection’s History Fund. The History Fund is supported exclusively by voluntary donations of Ohio income tax refunds, sales of Ohio History “mastodon” license plates, and designated gifts to the Ohio History Connection. www.ohiohistory.org/historyfund
SAVE THE DATE!!! The Marion Voices Folklife + Oral History Program is thrilled to announce the fruits of our Fall 2020 Community Co-Curation “Pop-Up Exhibit Cycle,”which commenced meeting weekly in September 2020 — a blow-out, Zoom-based two-hour folklife/cultural arts event celebrating + discussing the ethics & politics of Marion County’s Black Holiday Foodways, Folklife, & Traditions. Our event is currently slated to feature six Marion County Black cultural artists, memory-keepers, & tradition-bearerssharing history, memories, & demonstrations of holiday folklife genres ranging from material culture, dress, adornment & home decoration to community Christmas pageants & celebrations to — you guessed it — everyone’s favorite folklife genre: foodways! We also will have a special presentation on the sync between Black Christmas celebrations & traditions and Kwanzaa, highlighting the role that syncretic Afro-Culturalist principles have long played in Black churches & community ethics in Marion County. Please join us over Zoom on Sunday, December 20th, 2020 from 4-6pm to celebrate Marion County’s Black holiday traditions! More details, a set-list, & Zoom information to follow shortly! Watch this space for an updated flyer in the week following Thanksgiving! We hope to see you there! 

This Christmas: Black Marion Celebrates has been made possible, in part, through the generous support of Marion Voices’ 2020-2021 sponsors: the Wopat Community Fund at the Marion Community Foundation; Ohio Humanities; the Ohio History Fund at the Ohio History Connection; United Way of North-Central Ohio’s Small Grants Program; and Rotary Club International of Marion County, Ohio. Thank you for making this important work possible!!! <3
Join us beginning on Monday, September 28th, 2020 from 6-7pm onMarion Voices’ Zoom channel for the kickoff meeting for our Fall 2020 *Black History Community Co-Curation Cycle*, supported by Ohio Humanities, the Ohio History Fund, and with local support from United Way of North-Central Ohio! We’ll be meeting every Monday night (6-7pm) from 09/28 to 11/23 (Thanksgiving week) to collectively plan, research, build, & launch a pop-up community exhibit on Black history, life, cultural arts, & futures in Marion County. The exact theme/focus & format for our pop-up exhibit will be determined by participants; so please join us to help launch this important & long-overdue work in partnership with the Marion County Historical SocietyStipends are available to offset costs & time of attendance; please contact Jess if you’d like to receive one! Email: marionvoicesoralhistory at gmail dot com. See you there!
Join us for our Marion Voices Fall Updates Open-House, where we’ll give updates + unveil the new products & program visions resulting from our 2019-2020 Ohio Arts Council ArtsNEXT Grant: including our Marion Voices Culture Keepers Roster/Artists’ Directory; and our Marion Voices Countywide Folklife Program + Cultural Heritage Tourism Strategic Plan! Come give your feedback on what you’d like to see to grow arts-based economies & mobilize cultural arts for racial justice in our Marion County, Ohio!



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.



Flyer announcing our 12/19 Marion Voices Kickoff Open House (3-9pm, Heritage Hall). Please join us if you are able!


Join us on Thursday, December 19th from 3-9pm in the Auditorium at the Marion County Historical Society’s Heritage Hall for our Winter 2019 Marion Voices Kickoff Open-House. Informational presentations will be given at 4pm and 7pm; but feel free to drop by anytime!

The Marion Voices Folklife & Oral History project is a countywide oral history and folklife project focused on Black history, life and culture in Marion County, 1960s-present, and a sister countywide folklife survey focused on the traditional cultural arts of diverse Marion County cultural, ethnic, religious, and geographic communities. From 2019 to 2021, our project will culminate in a series of community co-curated pop-up exhibits, events, and a folklife festival series, amplifying the histories and stories of Marion’s incredible communities — focused, specifically, on the stories and cultural heritage of Marion’s Black, brown, immigrant/newcomer, and rural communities.

Join MCHS Executive Director Brandi Wilson, Project Director Jess Lamar Reece Holler, and Community Coordinator Johnnie Jackson for formal presentations on the project — and how to get involved! — starting at 4pm and again at 7pm; and stop in during the rest of our open house to discuss oral history, folklife, to get involved in our community-collaborative efforts, and help us identify who in your community you’d like to see documented for the project! You can even sign yourself up — we’ll be scheduling interviews for December and January! Our project launches with oral history interviews and a folklife survey in December 2019, following our kickoff. Marion Voices is generously supported by Ohio Humanities and the Ohio Arts Council.