Cleopatra brings ancient Egypt to the Queen City

Cleopatra’s body was never found, but all of her stuff is currently in residence at 1301 Western Avenue, right here in Cincinnati. Cleopatra VII, the infamously beautiful political leader who seduced two of the world’s most powerful men, can be seen in all her past, present and future glory at “Cleopatra: The Search for the Last Queen of Egypt” at Cincinnati Museum Center.

The exhibition boasts nearly 150 artifacts that range from coins with her portrait to towering statues. The  pieces were uncovered during the modern-day expeditions led by Egyptian archeologist and Minister of State for Antiquities Affairs, Dr. Zahi Hawass, and French underwater archeologist and Director of IEASM (Institut Européen d’Archéologie Sous-Marine), Franck Goddio. Since they began uncovering the elusive queen’s world by land and sea, the two men have done as much for Cleopatra’s legacy as Julius Caesar and Marc Antony.

Destroyed by an earthquake, subsequent tsunami, and a classic case of the Roman Empire determined to erase it from history, Cleopatra’s life and world have been hidden for nearly 2,000 years. Franck Goddio began his ambitious dive to the ocean floor in 1992 and has since uncovered Cleopatra’s royal palace and two ancient cities lost to the natural disasters, Canopus and Heracleion. On land, Dr. Hawass and his team are on the hunt for the tomb of Cleopatra and Marc Antony, but in the interim have uncovered artifacts (coins, statues, shafts) from the temple of Taposiris Magna.

Patrons are taken through Cleopatra’s lost world in a gorgeous underwater setting with the exhibits narrated by the queen herself.  Divided into eight separate, chronological galleries, the Cincinnati Museum Center provides a comprehensive display of the world as it was and gives viewers a new prospective on the politically ambitious pharaoh. As one walks through the maze of never-before-seen artifacts, she explains her family, husbands, decisions, and love for Egypt and its people.

“I am so proud that Cincinnati Museum Center is able to provide our community with this tremendous window on the world and Cleopatra’s remarkable story,” said Douglas W, McDonald, president and CEO of Cincinnati Museum Center. “This is a must-see experience of Cleopatra’s power, mystery, ambition strategy, romance, glamour and economic success. It helps us recognize the unique culture and priceless antiques Egypt offers the world looking back on humanity over thousands of years.”

“Cleopatra: The Search for the Last Queen of Egypt” is currently at Cincinnati Museum Center. The queen will be in the Queen City until September 5, 2011 and admission price ranges from$14 to $23. Tickets are timed and dated and admission is 10:00 a.m. – 5 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays (last entry at 5 p.m.), 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays (last entry 8 p.m.), 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. on Sundays (last entry 6 p.m.). Discounts are available for groups of 15 or more. For more information on the exhibit visit their website or call 513-287-7001.

 

Nolen Park development to complete Mariemont’s original town plan

In 1862 an 18-year-old Brooklynite named Mary Hopkins came to Cincinnati with ideas for a walkable community in her new home. Long story short, she soon became Mary Emery, one of Cincinnati’s most celebrated philanthropists, and is credited with founding the planned community of Mariemont.

She was at the groundbreaking of the neigborhood in 1923. 90 years later, Mariemont is a walkable community worth emulating, and its newest development, Emery Park, will help to finally complete Mary Emery’s original town plan. In conjunction with North American Properties, Cincinnati-based Greiwe Development Group broke ground for the $12 million project on August 31, 2010 and it is expected to be complete this November.

Emery Park is an extension of the Village Square, and thanks to CR Architecture + Design, continues the tradition of Tudor Revival design signature to the Mariemont community. Developers tout the project as having interior features open one-level floor plans with expansive windows, large balconies, and immaculate finishes, providing both a perfect space and location for Baby Boomers. To date, nearly one-third of the 31 units of been sold.

“Emery Park is the realization of Mary Emery’s vision for downtown Mariemont, and 90 years later, we’re able to say that we have fulfilled a part of her well-designed plan for this walkable community,” said Rick Greiwe, principal of Greiwe Development Group.

Emery Park is one of three condominium complexes in Mariemont that have been built by the development team. The first of which, Jordan Park, was dedicated in October 2008 and has since sold all 26 of its residences. The other, Nolen Park, is slated to break ground in spring of 2012 and has already sold six of the 29 units. And developers say that all of the developments are available in one to three bedroom floor plans with energy-efficient materials to provide residents with comfortable, low-maintenance living.

The project is in partnership with Greiwe Development, Sibcy Cline and North American Properties. Sibcy Cline listing agents are Patti Harrier and Elaine Greiwe. Homes at Emery Park start at $295,000 and open houses take place at the Mariemont Lifestyle Sales Center each Sunday from 1pm to 4pm at 3514 West Street.

Capital Shoe Repair heals the sole in OTR’s Gateway Quarter

Worn footwear, busted purses and torn leather car interiors will live to see another day, thanks to leather extraordinaire and soul musician James Napier and Capital Shoe Repair & Shine Parlors.

Though believed by many to have gone the way of the milkman or the service station attendant, there is strong evidence to the contrary at 1344 Vine Street. Business is good, the door is open and Napier can’t finish a sentence without returning a wave to someone on the street, signifying Capital is in good company. “The neighborhood is great,” said Napier.

The Northside native was in the market to open a second location to supplement the original Capital Shoe Repair downtown and decided on the Vine Street location after a friend insisted he take a drive through Over-the-Rhine.


Capital Shoe Repair [LEFT] in the Gateway Quarter of historic Over-the-Rhine. Photograph by Jenny Kessler for UrbanCincy.

“I hadn’t even considered Vine a possibility. I had been on the road playing music for three years and when I came home I was surprised to see the neighborhood had come such a long way,” he said.

Napier has traveled all over the Midwest promoting his other passion: soul music. He’s been playing piano and guitar almost as long as he’s been in the shoe repair business – almost.

Capital opened in October 2010, but Napier’s been honing his craft for 37 years. His father, Frenchman Napier, opened Frenchman’s Shoe Repair of Covington, Kentucky in 1969, and laid the foundation for a family tradition.

“My first experience was at my father’s shop. I was fourteen years old and he had left to run some errands and put me in charge. Up until this point I had never operated any of the machines, my father thought I was too young. As soon as he left, I went to the Good Will next door and bought a small, decorative metal shoe and took it back to the shop. I used a scrap of leather and the trimming machine to put a sole and a heel on it,” said Napier.

Napier reached under the counter and showed the metal shoe with a flawless sole and heel attached; his first work, the passing of the shoe. “When he came back I showed him what I had done, he was impressed,” he added.

Impressed indeed. Two businesses and eight soul albums later, James Napier has still got it. He now divides his time equally between the original Capital Shoe Repair on 221 E. 4th Street (8am to 1pm) and the new Over-the-Rhine location (1pm to 8pm) and will mend anything from shoes to baseball gloves – just drop bye and say hello.

Keystone Community Garden connects urban neighborhoods to sustainable produce

During a time in which 51 percent of Americans will live in poverty sometime before the age of 65 and an estimated 20.7 percent of all children under the age of 18 in the U.S. currently live in poverty, Neyer Properties is rolling up its sleeves and taking its talents to the dirt.

The Cincinnati-based sustainable real estate developer has taken on yet another project that promotes its unwavering dedication to ethical and environmentally-friendly business practices with the Keystone Community Garden at Keystone Parke in Evanston along I-71. Although originally planned for Earth Day on April 22, planting finally took place on Friday, May 13 after being rescheduled four times due to rain.

Throughout the summer volunteers will harvest tomatoes, peppers, corn, potatoes, green beans, lettuce, cucumbers and onions and donate the fresh produce to the Over-the-Rhine and Walnut Hills Kitchens and Pantry. Founded in 1976, the Over-the-Rhine kitchen is the Tristate’s oldest soup kitchen and dishes out roughly over 4,000 meals per week.


Directors from OTR Kitchen and Food Pantry and Neyer Properties.

“Neyer Properties represents the wonderful generosity of corporations in our city,” said Patricia Wakim, executive director of OTR and Walnut Hills Kitchens and Pantry. “It is through this kindness and support that we are able to continue our mission to care for the poor and homeless in an environment of respect and hospitality. We applaud Neyer Properties for its dedication in caring for those less fortunate.”

Of course, feeding Cincinnati is not a mission one embarks on alone; the 60 x 120 foot community garden was a team effort. Lawn Systems provided the equipment to till the land; the American Red Cross gave volunteers and the irrigation supply; and Mills Fence Company supplied a six-foot fence to protect the garden from animals. Neyer is no stranger to the other kind of corporate greenery – the kind that allows one to boast several LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified properties. Giving back is an integral part, if not the integral part of Neyer’s corporate culture.

Since 2007 the company and its employees have donated their efforts to Working in Neighborhoods with annual home rehabilitation and landscaping projects, and since 2008 have cleaned up litter and recyclables every month on Dana Avenue from I-71 south exit ramp to Evanston Avenue along Keystone Parke as part of Keep Cincinnati Beautiful’s Adopt-A-Spot program.

The location of the LEED-certified Keystone Parke, the Adopt-A-Spot area, and now the community garden is by no means an accident. Nestled against the notoriously traffic-laden I-71 not only brings attention to Neyer’s mission of sustainable developments, but showcases the results that come from adhering to that mission.

“Born and raised in Cincinnati, I believe any place where you live, work and play you have to give back if you want it to be better than when you first arrived,” said Dan Neyer, president of Neyer Properties. “The reason we have an education event to honor Earth Day is to educate with our hands, and do something that is visible and long-lasting. I think it’s the ultimate sustainability, between the air we breathe and the food we eat – it’s the only way we can live.”

SpringBoard Cincinnati merges art and business

Right brain vs. left brain; canvas vs. spreadsheet; the dreamers vs. the driven. In a world that becomes more connected every day, who says art and business are mutually exclusive? This attitude drives local nonprofit ArtWorks’ newest creative enterprise program. SpringBoard Cincinnati is a business development program for artists and creative entrepreneurs.

SpringBoard is more than a classroom with a packet of information and a “good luck” at the end. It’s the most effective way for creative entrepreneurs to see their ideas turn into action, and action into results. The $250 fee includes an 8-week course convening three hours each week, personal consulting from experts in accountancy, finance, law and branding, and a comprehensive business plan. Graduates will also be connected to potential storefront spaces in Over-the-Rhine and downtown.


Vine Street image by Thadd Fiala for UrbanCincy.

“The course is tailored so you aren’t sitting in a room with thirty people just listening to someone speak, only to walk out confused. Students gain applicable, real world information about running their own business,” said SpringBoard Coordinator Sarah Corlett.

Professionals donate their time each week to giving direction to the entrepreneurs’ ideas. Students will be working with the likes of Keating, Meuthing & Klemkamp, P.P.L., Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP, Burke and Schindler, P.L.L., Rockfish Interactive, and PNC Bank.

“The first week may be an attorney who will instruct the class on the legal structure of starting a business. They will lecture for one hour and the remaining time is dedicated to the class asking questions specific to their future business,” said Corlett.

Nothing short of innovative, SpringBoard is just the next logical step for ArtWorks, an award winning non-profit based in Over-the-Rhine that has been connecting artists with apprenticeships, job opportunities and community partnerships since 1996.  SpringBoard is licensing the curriculum from a program of the same name founded by the Chattanooga-based non-profit Create Here. The SpringBoard in the South has been in operation for three years and already boasts 325 graduates.

“Walking down Main Street in the south side of Chattanooga it seems like every storefront is a product of SpringBoard,” said Corlett. “In Cincinnati we are losing a lot of our young, creative population to other cities – Chicago, New York, and the West Coast. SpringBoard is helping to create an environment of locally, handcrafted ideas here in Cincinnati,” she added.

Funded by the Carol Ann & Ralph V. Haile Jr./ U.S. Bank Foundation, SpringBoard’s first course is set to begin June 7th. Interested creative entrepreneurs – from metal sculptors to musicians, and everything in between – can sign up on the website. space is limited but sessions will be ongoing. For more information regarding class registration or to volunteer your professional expertise contact Sarah Corlett at 513-333-0388 or Sarah@ArtWorksCincinnati.org.