Robert O'Neal: Open To All
As a life-long resident of Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, Robert O’Neal (b. 1940, Covington, KY; d. 2018, Cincinnati, OH) was a fixture of the region’s local arts community. Throughout his over fifty-year career, O’Neal created works that represent the joys, struggles, and rich histories of Cincinnati’s Black neighborhoods. His practice merged art and activism, advocating for civil rights through socially engaged art and grassroots organizing that supported Black artists, fought for disability rights, and advocated for the unhoused. He has left a long-lasting impression on the community, earning him the unofficial title of “Over-the-Rhine Mayor.” As the first major survey on the artist, Robert O’Neal: Open to All highlights his vast body of work. Featuring paintings, drawings, prints, and photographs that he produced between the 1960s-2010s, along with a collection of archival materials, this long overdue retrospective examines O’Neal’s critical contributions to the city of Cincinnati.
This exhibition is generously supported by DaSci Consulting Group, Eric and Jan-Michele Kearney, Morse and Betty Johnson Family Foundation, Barbara Myers, Emily Hanako Momohara and Shawn Newman, and The Warrington Family: Warrington Foundation (Fran and Dan Bailey), Jens Rosenkrantz & Kay Hurley, and Drew Gores & George Warrington.
Stephanie Kang, Independent Curator and Assistant Professor, Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design, Denver.