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All Power to All People

A Response from Michael Coppage, Gee Horton and Kate Tepe

Video Transcript


Michael Coppage (ko-paj) (Cincinnati): I am an artist and speaker and have been featured in print and online for a controversial and provocative series entitled “American +” where I address the appropriation of African-American culture, the simultaneous demonization of black men as well as depict white Americans as monkeys. In addition to my more personal works, I co-created a therapeutic art not-for-profit called PIECES where I work with adolescent psychiatric patients to create large-scale portraits. To date over 300 images have been completed and exhibited around the country.

Gee Horton: I am a Cincinnati-based self-trained Hyperrealist visual artist. Using graphite and charcoal pencils, my drawings often capture a heightened sense of hyperrealism and authenticity. With this in mind, my current work makes a connection between my African roots in juxtaposition to American attitudes on the social and emotional development of the African American male experience.

I am currently serving as the Mercantile Library’s first African American Artist-in-Residence - I have been commissioned to draw a 6ft portrait of Peter H. Clark, the Mercantile Library’s first African American member. My work has been featured in a variety of regional publications and galleries. For more information, please visit 

Kate Tepe: I am a Cincinnati based artist who creates work related to group and personal identities, interpersonal relationships and community networks. I toggle back and forth from design and fine art, but I enjoy opening my practice to develop collaborative projects, that encourage participants to take as much ownership in the work as I do. I aim to explore conscious and unconscious identities, (racial, sexual, national, or cultural) as well as established social codes. I’m interested in how these identities shape how we perceive ourselves and others – and I want to push those perceptions, so people create a greater sense of honestly and intimacy with each other.

My background is broad. I began studying Fashion Design, and conceptually based art work. I received my MFA from the University of Cincinnati, and my BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. I have been fortunate to work under the guidance of several respected artists, such as Noel Anderson, Katie Parker, and Nick Cave. These people have influenced my interest in community engagement, and the power of material exploration to push boundaries. I have also lead instruction, and developed programming for the Contemporary Arts Center, the Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati Public Schools, The University of Dayton, and The Art Institute of Chicago.

“Philadelphia public art project ponders the meaning behind monuments”

Jeffrey Brown, PBS Newshour, October 9, 2017

“What should our monuments of the future look like?”

Hank Wills Thomas, CNN Style, June 17, 2020

“Behind the Black Lives Matter mural: Artists’ speak to equality, family and hope”

Briana Rice, and Sarah Haselhorst, Cincinnati Enquirer, June 19, 2020


Label text, Cincinnati Art Museum

All Power to All People raises questions about what is elevated in public art, and what is not. Thomas conceived this 800-pound sculpture of an everyday object, the afro pick, as part of a project asking artists to imagine twenty-first-century monuments for the historic city of Philadelphia. In the artist’s words, the afro pick “exists today as many things to different people: it is worn as adornment, a political emblem, and signature of collective identity … and continues to develop itself as a testament to innovation.”

If you could make an everyday object into a public monument today, what object would you choose, and where would you place your monument?

Note: Label texts originated at the Portland Art Museum and were modified by venue project teams at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and Cincinnati Art Museum.