A local artist, teacher, philanthropist, and all-around fun gal was selected as one of Cincy Chic’s Women of the Year. Read on for her quirky, inspiring story.
Cincy Chic: Tell us about you! What keeps you inspired in everything you do?
Pam Kravetz: I am inspired by the beauty in the chaos of the everyday! I am inspired by the vibrancy, energy, and brilliance that is Cincinnati. I am inspired by the art, the artists, the music and the musicians, the dancers, the dreamers, and the makers in our city. I am inspired by the community and the crazy that I get to be part of riding in the bathtub for Arnold’s in all our parades that sets Cincinnati apart. I am inspired by the passion and love of my parents, my brothers and sisters, my family and friends, my cool husband Craig and his amazing daughters, and Max, my son, his lust for learning, adventure, and possibilities, he keeps me on my toes. I am inspired by my art students at Harrison High School – everyday they surprise, challenge, and fascinate me. I am inspired by the “what if” and the magic that trying new things creates. I am inspired by this great honor from Cincy Chic, and I am verklempt too. Oh, yeah, and I am totally inspired by lipstick.
Cincy Chic: What path did you take to get where you are today?
Kravetz: Is there a road less than less traveled? A path of most resistance? If so, that is probably the path I took to get where I am today. I struggled in school beginning in Kindergarten and had teachers take me under their wing throughout my educational career to help me succeed. That is what I hope I do for my students. Reenie and Stanley Kravetz (my mom and dad) have always supported me and been my biggest fans, that got me early on, that I don’t follow the rules or “fit in.” After undergraduate school, I took some time off and wasn’t involved in making art or being part of the art community. I became a docent (tour guide) at the CAC and realized I loved to teach. I became an art teacher and all the parts started to fit together. My first public art piece was one of the Big Pigs from Artworks with my two art-making partners in crime Karen and Carla. That was a pinnacle point for me, an introduction to collaboration, Artworks and Tamara Harkavy. I was hired by Artworks as a Project Leader and was able to combine my love of art making, collaboration and public art and realized the important impact for our community that it had. I was delighted to have my art at the CAC’s UnMuseum, I created an interactive installation, The Beauty Queen, The Super Hero, and The Peanut. I also realized there are people in my life that can do thing better than me, and to rely on them. For instance, my sister Andrea can bead like nobodies business. I loved the viewer being part of my artwork, the art came alive when they interacted with it. All this led up to masterminding the fabulous street art group, The Bombshells of Cincinnati! I realized we can make a larger impact and have a louder voice when I collaborate with other artists. Performance art, kind of happened by accident at that time. That is where the dressing up come from too – my yarn bombing (graffiti art with knitting a crochet) moniker is Pinky Shears and I am a rootin’, tootin’, art makin’ yarn bombing, tutu wearing art making machine. Pinky Shears lead to the performance art of driving the Arnold’s bath tub, presenting at various art related events and being a self proclaimed ambassador of fun and awareness. I am a connector, a collaborator and a communicator which has helped me to champion other artists, community events and charitable organization. I loved that I am able to be part of such an exciting, cultural mecca, and growing city. I feel so incredibly lucky.
Cincy Chic: What organizations are you currently involved with in the city?
Kravetz: I am a brand-spanking-new Trustee for Artworks and I love getting to develop plans with them for creating jobs, art, community, and vibrancy in our city. I am involved with creating opportunity for art students through higher education with affiliations at The Art Academy of Cincinnati and DAAP. What I do that is totally crazy and fun and impactful in a super non-traditional way! I have a dressed up persona, alter ego, playful instigator of fun and awareness. I have danced the runway at Party in Plaid and Punk Fundraiser for Caracole (Paisley) with Heather Britt of Dancefix, popped out of a cake for the Artworks 21st Celebration Fundraiser, and driven the Arnold’s tub in Pride Parade, Open Day Parade, and Bockfest with my amazing friends. I was invited to create CACtv and be the hostess with the mostest as we celebrated The Contemporary Arts Center’s 75th Anniversary as well as created a gigantic memory quilt. And I will be creating a Julia Child/CACtv character for The Art of Food Fundraiser at The Carnegie Art Center.
Cincy Chic: How do you hope to expand your reach to other organizations and people in 2017?
Kravetz: I am new being on air with WNKU, in a program called Cincinnati Art Beat, with Pam Kravetz (that’s me). I have been given an incredible opportunity to give an “insider’s” guide to the arts in our region. I am so proud of our artists, and our arts organizations – both traditional arts institutions and non – and it is a blast getting the word out to a larger audience. I have always been an advocate and champion of the arts and artists – the seasoned professional as well as the novice. I have new opportunities for collaboration with artists both through my own artwork, as well as through Artworks, The Carnegie Art Center, Nearby Collective and Art on the Street.
Cincy Chic: What have been some of your favorite organizations to work with so far?
Kravetz: I have been over the moon to have the opportunity to work with Artworks as an artist, a Project Manager and as a Trustee, The Carnegie Art Center in KY, and their super fun fundraiser The Art of Food, The Contemporary Arts Center and Art on the Streets. I have had the pleasure of creating over 45 art quilts with patients, doctors, caregivers and families of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. Additionally, I have been part of a team from Artworks that has redesigned/created four clinics and artwork at Ronald McDonald House. Seeing the difference art makes in a child’s life is so incredible, and to honor their legacy with a piece of art about them was pretty life changing experience for me.
Cincy Chic: Is there anything new on the horizon for you in 2017?
Kravetz: I am working on a big project with Artworks, Brave Berlin, Agar, and the Haile Foundation called Blink – a huge, exciting art extravaganza of projected light. There will so many artists and high school and college art students involved in the project – it will be amazing! I am the co-host of The Artworks Fundraiser Breakfast in the spring! I am delving deeper into my own personal art-making and currently working on a large scale, crazy-town, over the top installation with my big fiber pieces as well as inflatable sculptures and I am super excited about it! I feel now, more than ever, the voice of the artist is so incredibly important and I am excited to use my art and my voice in the community for change, understanding, celebration, and awareness. I have loved donating my art to numerous wonderful causes throughout the years, from Caracole, Visionary and Voices, to Eight Lights for Ethan and Bricks Along the Journey, to name a few. I lost my younger sister to breast cancer in 2015 and my mom to ovarian cancer as a child. Cincy Chic’s Amy Scalia asked me to create a piece of art to auction for Bras with Flair on The Square for a breast cancer awareness fundraiser – it was a very emotional and important moment for me.
Cincy Chic: Where can readers go to learn more about you and what you do?
Kravetz: Check out my super old website from like 1950, I am working with a cool branding company, We Have Become Vikings, to do a new one in 2017, so maybe wait a bit. I am active on Facebook, sharing what is going on with my art and happenings around town, so let’s be friends! I have an Instagram account too, that I like to share happenings on. I do this fun selfie thing, I know selfie – REALLY? I always say that “it is all about me,” but the point of my selfies is what is going on behind me. It is my way of promoting cool things going on and saying, you are invited, you should be here. Come to almost any parade in Cincinnati and find me, I’ll be the one in the HUGE wig (thanks to Stacey Vest, wig-maker extraordinaire) and probably in a bathtub, or a Left Shark suit, or who knows what! And come and say hello!