Neighborhood picnic to raise money for Tucker’s shooting victims

Bring your picnic blankets and chairs to St. Francis Seraph Church this Saturday, April 30 for a community support picnic in Over-the-Rhine.

The picnic will be held from 1pm to 5pm in the Franciscan Secret Garden to benefit two victims of a shooting incident that took place at Tucker’s Restaurant earlier this year.

City residents and businesses have rallied around the victims’ families for this event, and free local entertainment will be provided by Wild Mountain Berries, Robin Lacey & Dezydeco, and Chico & Friends. Free food will also be provided from Over-the-Rhine establishments, and Christian Moerlien beer will be available for $3.

Raffles, split the pot fundraisers and a silent auction will benefit the victims’ families. Event organizers say that prizes will include theater and concert tickets, restaurant and bar gift certificates, and more.

Organizers are requesting a minimum donation of $10 at the door. All proceeds will go to Carla Tucker and Ronisha Burgin, the victims of a January shooting at Tucker’s Restaurant. Free parking will be available in St. Francis Seraph parking lot (map), and an indoor location, in case of rain, has been set aside next door at St. Francis Seraph School.

Tucker’s Restaurant exterior photograph by 5chw4r7z.

Circus poster exhibit at Cincinnati Art Museum brings lithographic prints to life

Before the appearance of movies, television, and zoos, the circus was all of those things bundled into a single great traveling show. Advertisement of that product took the form of large lithograph prints, many of them produced here in Cincinnati by the Strobridge Lithographing Company. The Amazing American Circus Poster exhibit, on display at the Cincinnati Art Museum (CAM) now through July 10, features 80 posters taken from the collection the company gave the museum upon its dissolution in 1971.

Produced between 1878 and 1939, the posters reflect a progression of artistic styles, advances in printing techniques, and the evolution of the circuses themselves. The character of the posters and the acts they advertised were not random – they are the product of the earliest marketing studies, creating the blueprint for mass marketing by 20th-century corporations. Conspicuous is the rise of star women performers: female acrobats, lion tamers, weight lifters, etc., captured the public’s interest, and therefore its disposable income, more than men performing the same acts.

This presents several dilemmas: should the circus operators be applauded for empowering women (and also foreigners, Siamese twins, and other outsiders on their payrolls), or should they be admonished for giving the appearance of empowerment while simply exploiting these individuals? And to what extent did the circus posters themselves shape exoticism?

The cultural complexities created and reflected by the circuses and how they were advertised will be the subject of the Circus Poster Symposium this Sunday, May 1, at the Cincinnati Art Museum. Admission to the symposium is $10 general public; $5 students, seniors, Enjoy the Arts members; free Art Museum members. Reservations recommended.

The Amazing American Circus Poster exhibit is on display at the Cincinnati Art Museum through July 10. The Cincinnati Art Museum, at 953 Eden Park Drive, is open 11am to 5pm Tuesday through Sunday. Admission is free to the public; parking is $4 for non-members. The Terrace Café, located in the museum, is open 11am to 3pm Tuesday through Sunday.

Emily Schneider contributed to this story.

Cincinnati approves transition to solar-powered parking meters

Yesterday, Cincinnati’s city council unanimously approved legislation that will replace and upgrade parking meters throughout the city.

The legislation approves the City to move forward with a $1.7 million purchase of 1,400 individual solar-powered meters, and 50 multiple-space meters. The new electronic parking meters allow users to pay with credit card, while existing meters require users to pay with coins.

Solar-powered parking pay station on Court Street

The new meters will upgrade approximately 25 percent of the City’s 5,600 parking meters city-wide and 100 percent of the parking meters downtown where parking rates are now $2 per hour.

Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls’ office says that the new parking meters are expected to increase revenues and parking turnover. They say the increased revenue will come, in part, because a lot of people will now use credit cards to pay for the full two hour maximum, and because users will no longer be able to piggy-back off of previous time paid for at the meters.

Qualls’ office also believes the new meters will result in fewer people plugging the meters all day, and thus increase turnover.

The multi-space meters will function similarly to those currently found on Court Street and Second Street where users pay at a single pay station per block, then display a ticket on their dash board. City leaders envision that these pay stations will eventually be able to be used for issuing tickets for the Cincinnati Streetcar.

The investment is being funded through a parking revenue surplus, and was one of the recommendations to come from a 2009 study by Walker Parking Consultants that detailed actions the City could take to improve its parking infrastructure while also increasing parking revenues.

Court Street parking pay station photograph by Thadd Fiala for UrbanCincy.

CPA to lead walking tour of Cincinnati Streetcar route this Saturday

At one point in Cincinnati’s history, the city had the largest electrified transit network of any city its size in North America. A good deal of that network consisted of 220 miles of streetcars running all throughout the city, and now city leaders are working to introduce a modern streetcar system in Cincinnati.

The Cincinnati Preservation Association (CPA) would like to show off the proposed modern streetcar route to those interested, and discuss the positive impacts such a system would have on the city’s historic building stock.

“The city’s core neighborhoods developed along transit lines,” said Margo Warminski, Preservation Director, CPA. “They have the urbanity and great buildings people are looking for in cities today.”

Artist rendition of modern streetcar on Race Street in Over-the-Rhine.

Warminski says that at the recently held Cincinnati Neighborhood Summit speaker after speaker said the same thing about the important value of walkability and access to transit to improve neighborhoods. And the CPA believes that projects like the Cincinnati Streetcar help to promote that vision, while also presenting exciting revitalization opportunities.

“Over-the-Rhine has seen a lot of new investment in recent years, but it still has hundreds of vacant, condemned and blighted buildings at-risk of demolition,” Warminski explained. “While no one project can transform a neighborhood, people are already buying buildings and opening businesses along the proposed streetcar route.”

Those interested in participating in CPA’s Walk the Streetcar Route, can do so on Saturday, April 30 from 9:30am to 12pm. Margo Warminski will lead the walking tour, which will meet at Vine Street and Central Parkway (map), and show off the development opportunities present along the Cincinnati Streetcar route through Over-the-Rhine.

A $5 donation is appreciated, and go towards supporting CPA’s advocacy and outreach efforts that include the Gamble House, Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Oakley Train Station, Village of Greenhills, monthly educational programs and other projects.

Landor Associates unites brands with local art inspiration

Landor Associates, the brand consulting and design firm located in the historic Shillito Building between the 600 and 700 block of Race Street, connected the creative flow within its company to iconic local artists to create a new window display series, titled SmashUP Creative.

Dramatic storefront windows, that overlook the busy downtown street, once housed the latest fashions within the Shillitos Department Store. But over the last year they have contained art installations created by Landor employees to help inspire them and help them think about their in-house brands in a completely new way.

“We use our windows as an opportunity to inspire our employees who create the displays, to engage the city of Cincinnati and to inspire all who pass by,” Landor employee Mara McCormick told UrbanCincy.

For this particular exercise the branding teams for Crest, Cheers, Sour Patch Kids and Old Spice were encouraged to brainstorm artists’ work that they admired, with the goal of using the work as a catalyst for a new brand strategy. The employees chose five extraordinary artists: Nuesole Glassworks, Visionaries and Voices map artist Courttney Cooper; street artists Higher Level Art, Kentucky designer Keith Neltner and illustrator Charley Harper.

The teams got inspired by the artists’ styles, and infused it into conceptual packaging ideas for their brands. Sour Patch Kids, for example, worked in elements of street art and illustration inspired by the work of Higher Level Art into their candy package design. Some designers were moved to create their own brand, Bugaboo; a line of grilling products with package design inspired by Charley Harper’s iconic animal illustrations.

The experience allowed us to connect with artists and the creative community. It opened our eyes to new styles and artistic techniques which we can apply our own design process. SmashUP Creative gave the teams an opportunity to step out of their cubicles and away from the office to discover the inspirational work of artists all around the city.

One of the Landor teams, for example, visited a studio loft where the late Charley Harper’s work is stored. They sifted through hundreds of archive pieces, some which had never been shared publically, and spoke with those who knew him. “We were grateful for the chance to learn about and get close to an artist who we greatly admire,” said McCormick.

Passersby are encouraged to not only check out the windows, but to also learn more about these local artists and the contributions they have made.