CINCINNATI — Brent Billingsley will be presented the award on African American Community Night Friday night at Great American Ball Park
Billingsley is an artist, a non-profit leader with A.R.T.E. and a behavioral health specialist at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.
Recently, Billingsley worked with youth and police officers to create parts of a 16x20 mural that will go on display at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.
Billingsley said receiving this award “feels fantastic. When people say, keep on doing what you're doing, and I appreciate it. I'm very humbled, very humbled.”
But Billingsley said it’s not about him per se, it’s about the community of artists and the youth taking part in events like the “I’m Listening” art therapy project that is about to expand.
“We've been having these very, very real conversations and the kids ask a lot of hard questions, and the police will give them the answer that they're looking for,” said Billingsley. “That has gone from a project to a program. So, we'll be doing it every month from here on out.”
Right now the studio space is also his living room and Billingsley is looking for community help to branch out and get some infrastructure.
“The One Million Pieces is a campaign where, you know, we want 1 million people to give, and I don't care if you give me a bottle of hot sauce, because I'm gonna use that too," he said. "I don't care what you give me. I can use it."
Billingsley will accept the award Friday night and said he's looking forward to changing the world, together, piece by piece.
“I'm gonna do everything that I can to show that as much as I can to make sure that people who need somebody like I was needing, will have that in me,” he said.
The Reds’ African American Community Night will also feature a one-night only party in the Fan Zone with Billingsley, Black & Brown Faces and Corporate along with fireworks after the game.