At the Cincinnati Art Museum

Passion for the Arts


Recently retired English Professor Sherry Cook Stanforth dropped Moreover a line this summer. She attended the opening of Sanctuaries by Michael Thompson ’21. Via email, Sherry explained, “I wanted to send you these wonderful pictures from the Cincinnati Art Museum. I saw so many great creative Thomas More students, it felt like a family reunion. Rachel Whitehill ’19, Matt McLaughlin ’19, Elizabeth Butler ’22, Madison Light ’19, Rose Gibson ’20, and so many others showed in great spirit for Michael’s opening!

Taking advantage of a selfie moment in the Art Museum: Sherry Cook Stanforth, Madison Light (background), Michael Thompson, and Manuel Iris with daughter Oliva.

“Michael (and friends) celebrated the Art Museum’s opening of the grant-awarded Sanctuaries project, which is part of a larger series, Truth, and Inspiration, sponsored by Artswave and Artswave’s Black and Brown Artists Program. The program’s mission includes inspiring the larger public to participate in reconciling the moment and imagining a more just and equitable future for the Cincinnati region through the arts. 

Michael’s exploration of local artists’ sacred spaces included Thomas More student Sebastian Carlos, as well as former Cincinnati Poet Laureate and friend of the Creative Writing Vision program Manuel Iris. Michael’s paintings were inspired by ethnographic research, creative empathy, and place-making as a source for ‘a living relationship system.’”

Sherry went on to explain her personal connection and passion for this project: “I worked with Michael as he formed his grant application. We’ll collaborate on the book project arising from his Sanctuaries grant in the next phase, and we are also collaborating on events that I am offering through the Originary Arts Initiative as the year rolls forward. Michael will be one of my retreat/workshop leaders and Ariel Long ’20 is also getting involved at this level, already serving as the regional journal Pine Mountain Sand & Gravel editorial intern for this year.” Sherry has been busy since retiring with the launch of the Originary Arts Initiative, as a part of the Urban Appalachian Community Coalition, and keeps her Thomas More creative community abuzz. 

(Left to right) Rose Gibson, Micheal Thompson, Sherry Cook Stanforth, Madison Light.

“Thomas More alumni have been attending the Place Keepers open mic virtual event, offered on the final Wednesday of each month through UACC. Michael, Rachel, Ariel, Rose, Rachel Boyer, Alyssa Dowdell ’22, Ethan Kohl ’21, Courtney Barnoski ’21, etc., have all shared work.” For more information on the Originary Arts Initiative, contact Sherry at