Motel X

Motel X

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Take a behind-the-scenes look at Cincinnati’s Human Trafficking multi-media art installation coming January 2020.

A new experiential exhibit will shed light on a dark topic. On January 10, 2020, Motel X, a multi-media art installation, will be on exhibit at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. The purpose of the exhibit is to bring awareness and prevention to Human Trafficking within the Greater Cincinnati area. 

The inspiration behind the exhibit is something very close to creator, Christine Shrum Marque. “I came across the words ‘Human Trafficking’ at 14 years old while I was researching a paper for school. I didn’t understand what it meant and thought it was a type of highway violation. After searching for the definition, I found that it means modern day slavery,” says Marque, “I had no idea as a 14-year-old female in Ohio that I was most at risk for being Trafficked, I had to do some about it. I created Motel X as an interactive experience for visitors to uncover clues and information about Trafficking that happens in our backyards.”

The name of the exhibit derives from both the anonymity and location of Trafficking. The letter “X” has an anonymous feel bringing attention that it can happen anywhere. In 2018, Ohio was reported as the state with the 5th most reported trafficking cases. In 2016 alone, 1,000 were identified in the state of Ohio. Human Trafficking is the highest-grossing industry worldwide, seeing as it has affected 24.9 million people and counting, according to Marque.

When visitors plan to attend, they will be welcomed by a 70’s motel meets Alice in Wonderland visual inspiration. The experience will be unlike anything you could ever imagine. “Motel X will allow participants to touch anything and everything. You’ll look for clues hidden in the furniture following an aggregate story of a sex traffic victim and a labor traffic victim, intended for all ages,” says Christine. Visitors are intended to take away practical information about the Human Trafficking that happens in front of our very eyes, a conversation starter to start the process of preventing this act within our own circles.

For the past three years, Christine has been pouring her heart and soul into this exhibition and she is very excited to see it come to life. Along the way, she has received a lot of support from many partners in the Cincinnati community. “We have been lucky enough to partner with the Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center since the beginning. We have also worked with Kim Belew, The Freedom Center, US Bank Haile Foundation, Deerfield Construction, and so many more to allow the exhibition become what it is today.”

January 10, 2020: The sponsor-inclusive Premiere Night event will be at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. 

January 14, 2020 – April 4, 2020: Open to the public during Freedom Center’s operational hours. 

If you would like to snag opening tickets or donate to Motel X and the mission, please visit https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/themotelx/motel-x. Follow them on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook or visit their website for more information.

Hattie Martin
Hattie Martin is an editorial intern at Cincy Chic. She attends University of Cincinnati, majoring in Public Relations and Fashion Studies, complimented with a Creative Writing Certificate. When she is not found writing, you can find her at your local coffee shop or spending time in her hometown of Owensboro, Kentucky. Contact her at hmartin@cincychic.com.

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