Your Chapter Awaits

With the Library serving as a hub of activity in neighborhoods throughout Toledo and Lucas County, it was painful to temporarily close in March 2020. We wanted to find a way for the community to still feel connected to the Library and to one another, while also finding a way to share beauty and hope in an uncertain time.

We invited local visual artists and a local poet to create artworks that reflected ideas important to them with the Library as the common thread. The following poem by Jodie Summers served as an anchor for each visual artist to create their personal vision:

YOUR CHAPTER AWAITS

Escape with me into a world where your imagination can take you anywhere.
Printed on the pages of every genre that fit your creative dreams.
An unlimited source of information awaits you at your fingertips. All you have to do... is turn the page.

This poster series is a powerful reflection of the possibilities within our community’s grasp when we have equitable access to resources, opportunities and justice. The designs will be available as posters and small stickers for free at all of our locations while supplies last – display one or all as you think of what chapters await us. You can also see the posters at Boys & Girls club locations, the 577 Foundation, Black Kite Coffee, Levis Commons, all Tony Packo's locations, the Lash Room and the House of Dow in uptown, as well as other numerous locally owned restaurants and coffee shops.

Special thanks to Dustin Amery Hostetler for curating this inaugural community art project. We look forward to working with other community artists for another collection in the near future.

Mercé Culp

Mercé Culp is a 4-dimensional artist. Her work includes street art, dance, fashion, graphic design, and mixed media. Urban Digitz is the body of work she consistently builds pushing all media into the world of fashion. Mercé has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 3D digital character modeling and alternative digital print from Bowling Green State University. She is currently pursuing several fashion-based exhibitions with her fashion line, MFINITY FASHION. As she creates and designs wearable canvasses, she remains active in making public art, teaching youth arts programs, and performing experimental projects.

Artist statement
Today, as we consume chapter by chapter the events, stories, news, and an uncharted way of life, we need to keep our eyes open wide. As we move forward on this conveyor belt of life there is an insatiable need to consume information that enlightens us from where we have come and how we can improve our world. As we keep turning pages, we must seek justice for those who lack proper representation, help those who are disenfranchised, and be creative in the exploration of systems that bring peace and equality to all people. View full poster

Natalie Lanese

Natalie Lanese works primarily in painting, installation, and collage and exhibits nationally and internationally. She holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, and earned undergraduate and graduate degrees from Xavier University, Case Western Reserve University, and the Cleveland Institute of Art. She has created permanent public artworks in Toledo, Cleveland, Cincinnati, and San Diego, and is a recipient of the Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award and the Arts Commission’s Merit Award.

Artist statement
For this project, I worked with imagery that is common in my paintings—a repeating abstract geometric pattern that represents mountains. The poem “Your Chapter Awaits” is an invitation to escape. Throughout my life, mountains have enticed and invited me to escape, to face my fears, and to learn, giving me the space to dream and do. View full poster

Yusuf Lateef

Yusuf Lateef utilizes performance, installation, painting, and drawing as vehicles for his art practice. Realizing the potential for art in our everyday lives, Lateef looks to the common experience as something transformative.

Artist statement
Title - "Do you see me now?"

This piece is dedicated to the youth who are creating change and opportunities for themselves and others in their communities in spite of the challenges that face them on a personal, local, national, and global scale. View full poster

Adrian Lime

Adrian Lime is a poet, spray paint artist, and Jeep worker who lives in the Five Points area of West Toledo. He has been creating spray paint portraits for the past 25 years, in addition to writing and performing poetry for most of his life. He has developed a spray paint style he calls “fractured portraits,” which includes sharp geometric shapes layered together to elicit smooth curves in faces.

Artist statement
I was trying to draw out from this image the idea of how essential books and stories are to our daily lives. We turn to stories and fictions for escape, for adventure, for knowledge. Here we see a young girl with her books on strings… she’s flying them as if they are helium-filled balloons. But as can happen with kids, she loses hold of her string and the books begin to fly away. She runs to catch them, but they are just out of reach. She lost her sandal running for them, and she reaches and stretches as high as she can, focused on catching those stories before they are too far away.

I hope someone will help her out and catch these books for her. What would a life be without the ability to lose yourself in a good book? View full poster

Osinachi Okoro

Osinachi Okoro is a 21-year-old first generation Nigerian-American, born and raised in the greater Toledo area. Her primary medium is digital and she says it has always been her favorite medium since she was about 9-years-old. She says, “Instead of playing outside like a regular child, I would spend most of my time drawing anime girls in Microsoft Paint. I love music, playing guitar, and skateboarding.”

Artist statement
Given the world as it exists now, I can only imagine what it will take for people to realize this is the only earth we have. Where does your Rally’s trash go when you throw it out the car window? Does all of our non-biodegradable garbage have to displace each body of water one by one? Maybe people really love the way plastic makes their meat taste. View full poster

Bradley Scherzer

Bradley Scherzer lives in Toledo and currently teaches art with Fremont Ross High School in Fremont, Ohio. Much of his recent work has been organizing/engaging communities and youth in public-art making. He also creates large-scale murals and art installations.

Artist statement
Though stories pull you in, my thirst for knowledge can pull just as hard – taking in as much as I can on each visit. I’ve rarely left a Toledo Lucas County Public Library without maxing out at least one category checkout limit. Be it books, CDs, or DVDs, I’ve always wanted the most I can get at one time. Perhaps you’ve felt my wake? View full poster

Jodie Summers

Jodie Summers is a self-taught spoken word artist, poet, author, activist, illustrator, motivational speaker, event coordinator, chef and content creator. He is the author of the “Tears of the Wounded” series, creator of “Inked Truth” and has published hundreds of poems, short stories, and anthems under the title “Spoken Truth.”

Artist statement
I created the words, because I wanted someone to fill that pure exhilaration of what it was like for me as a child, to walk into the library see a book and take my imagination away for endless hours in the pages of a book.

Matt Taylor

Matt Taylor is a designer/artist born and raised in Toledo. Working remotely as a web designer/developer at Thrive Internet Marketing, he is also an Illustrator, branding/logo designer, muralist, and sketchbook filler.

Artist statement
In my design, you cannot see what the book has on its pages, the book is staring back asking you to imagine what's inside. Evoking a theme of endless possibilities. By simply reading words on pages, our minds can take us on endless journeys and allow us to experience different worlds. That's pretty amazing. View full poster