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Mt. Zion Preservation Project

Mt. Zion Preservation Project

Mt. Zion Preservation Project

CoArts is partnered with the Mt. Zion Baptist Church Preservation Society to preserve and restore a 115-year old landmark building constructed by and for the Black community of Southeast Ohio.

In 2019, the Society was selected as one of three national sites to work with the Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design (CIRD), a National Endowment for the Arts initiative supporting rural communities through hands-on training in creative placemaking, design justice, and planning. CoArts is working with the Society and CIRD to organize a series of community design workshops focused on the architectural rehabilitation and revitalization of Mt. Zion Baptist Church as a hub supporting Black history and culture.

Project Partners

Funding Sources

  • Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design

Featured News

Participants gather outside the Mount Zion Baptist Church

CoArts’ hand in building creative placemaking with Mt. Zion Baptist Church realizes positive ripple effects

April 30, 2021

The Ohio Valley Center for Collaborative Arts (CoArts) is where the arts and community building intersect. Housed inside the College of Fine Arts, CoArts connects Ohio University’s creative and cultural resources with community development efforts while supporting applied research and learning opportunities for faculty and students.

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Person riding bicycle down a path in the woods.

2020 community-based interns demonstrate impact of virtual community engagement

February 25, 2021

Undeterred by the COVID-19 Pandemic, the students and community partners working together through the Ohio University Center for Campus & Community Engagement’s Community-Based Internship program successfully transitioned to remote partnerships and achieved tangible, mutually-beneficial outcomes for both the students and community.

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Interior of church

Bringing Mt. Zion Baptist Church Back to Life: CIRD Workshop in Athens, OH

October 12, 2020

Built by formerly enslaved and free-born Black artisans, the Mount Zion Baptist Church in Athens, Ohio has been an anchor for the Black community in Appalachia for more than a century. But the building is in disrepair and needs a boost to support the robust programming--from choir rehearsals to community organizing--that it has housed for generations.

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Mt. Zion Church

Mt. Zion Baptist Church partners with OHIO’s CoArts to host NEA rural design workshop

November 18, 2019

One of Athens’ most historical and cultural buildings, the Mt. Zion Baptist Church, has been selected by the National Endowment for the Arts as one of three national sites to host a rural design workshop to restore and preserve an endangered building that has made a major impact on the black community in the region for over 100 years.

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Historical photo of people standing in from of Mt. Zion Church

Athens Organization Selected to Host Rural Design Workshop Led by National Endowment for the Arts

September 26, 2019

A community organization in Athens, Ohio, has been selected to host one of three multi-day community design workshops led by the National Endowment for the Arts. The workshop in Athens will focus on the efforts to preserve and reimagine the use of Mt. Zion Baptist Church, a century-old church founded in 1872 that is the last standing building in the city that was built by free-born and formerly enslaved black artisans.

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