Arts & Entertainment News

Downtown hosting open house this weekend to showcase ongoing progress

On Saturday, September 15, Downtown Cincinnati Inc. (DCI) and the Downtown Residents Council will celebrate urban living with a free event called Live It Up Downtown.

The residents and boosters have cause to celebrate. Downtown Cincinnati has added more than 5,000 residents over the past five years. Over the past decade, crime has also dropped approximately 25 percent, retail occupancy rates have improved to their best levels in five years, and overall employment is up.

Crave is one of dozens of new businesses to open downtown so far in 2012. Photograph by Randy Simes for UrbanCincy.

All of the progress has neighborhood advocates excited about the state of their slice of Americana, and they want the whole region to learn more about the progress.

Live It Up Downtown is an opportunity to celebrate our vibrant residential community,” David Ginsburg, President and CEO of DCI, stated in a prepared release. “A lively group of residents will be on hand to meet and find out first-hand why they chose to live downtown.”

According to organizers, the event will run from 3pm to 11pm on Fountain Square, and will feature realtors and property managers on-hand to provide information about downtown living options. There will also be scheduled entertainment, live music, food and drink available for purchase, and more than 30 small businesses and organizations on-hand to discuss their involvement in the center city.

Those interested in checking out available residential units downtown will be treated to open houses at the American Building, Lofts at Fountain Square, The McAlpin, Glass House Lofts, 18 East Fourth, and Current at The Banks from 3pm to 6pm.

Arts & Entertainment News

Ensemble Theatre offering new discounts for area students

The Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati (ETC) kicks off single ticket sales to its 2012-2013 season today at 10am, and they are introducing a variety of special offers to make attending professional theatre more affordable for young people.

A new feature for area students will allow access to all six productions this season for $120. Also new this season, the ETC will offer a $90 subscription for students between ages 13-19. The Teen Scene Subscription will also include a meal following each performance, and a post-show discussion with the cast and/or artistic staff.

Theatre patrons gather outside of Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati in May 2012. Photograph by 5chw4r7z.

“This is a great opportunity for students seeking to deepen their appreciation and understanding of live performance in a peer environment,” explained ETC’s director of communications, Jocelyn Meyer. “Additionally, students will be able to continue the conversation by interacting and blogging following the performance via a private Facebook group.”

A popular ticket discount program returning from last season will be the $15 Student Rush which allows students to purchase remaining tickets to shows starting two hours prior to the performance. Tickets will cost $27 per show for area students who purchase tickets in advance.

Due to limited availability, Meyer says that space will be limited and that discounted subscriptions will be filled on a first-come, first-serve bases for second Saturday matinee performances only.

The discounts being offered are geared to attract young people to the theatre that has long been an institution in historic Over-the-Rhine, and is now experiencing some of its best success. According to ETC officials, the theatre has attracted more than 1,800 subscribers for the new season – a record – and is continuing with its capital campaign to expand the the theatre and its support spaces.

Tickets can be purchased in person at the box office at 1127 Vine Street from 10am to 5pm Monday through Friday, or by calling (513) 421-3555.

Up To Speed

With World Choir Games finished, Cincinnati eyes next major event

With World Choir Games finished, Cincinnati eyes next major event.

The 2012 World Choir Games exceeded all expectations, and city officials are being praised for their ability to execute the international event flawlessly. With the two-week event now over, Cincinnati leaders are eyeing what might be the next major event for the Queen City. More from the Cincinnati Enquirer:

As the Games’ concerts and contests unfolded, as medals were won and lost, as choirs from around the world roamed the streets of Cincinnati giving this old river city a vibrant international feel thanks to midday traffic jams, conversations flavored with a multitude of accents and scenes sweetened by sidewalks teaming with smiling faces, the city’s party planners made a wish list. The events discussed included: Cincinnati’s 225th birthday, a World Choir Games-sanctioned Games of the Americas – starring choirs from the tip of North America to the toes of South America – and a new Tall Stacks Music, Arts & Heritage Festival, all in 2013; Baseball’s 2015 All-Star Game, and the University of Cincinnati’s bicentennial in 2019.

Arts & Entertainment News

OTR Flags installation aims to unite inner-city neighborhood through art

Hundreds of brightly colored squares of silk ripple in the breeze amid the trees of the newly renovated Washington Park. Each square tells a story of a person or organization somehow intertwined in the past, present, or future of the Over-the-Rhine community. Furthermore, the OTR Flags project is the first public event celebrating the re-opening of the 157-year-old park.

Though the grand reopening of the park is heralded as a triumph, it brings with it lingering memories of crime, homelessness, and drug dealing that plagued the area over recent decades. Some organizations and people had trepidation surrounding the renovation – that not everyone would get to share in the joy of the new space.

OTR Flags installation in Washington Park. Photograph by Jenny Kessler for UrbanCincy.

In an effort to help bridge the proverbial divide between old and new residents, local artist and resident Angela Morrow teamed with Joan Kaup in 2009 to create the public art project with the goal of uniting the diverse neighbors of Over-the-Rhine and encouraging communal ownership of Washington Park.

“There’s still some tension, with old residents, new residents, black and white, rich and poor,” said Morrow. “Art is a safe, positive way to create dialogue. We wanted to bring everyone together and start the healing process.”

Inspired by The Gates installation in New York City’s Central Park, the team developed a plan to unite organizations, artists, and neighbors by creating personalized silk flags to hang in Washington Park. Some 57 organizations contributed in some way – by being a media sponsor, contributing financially, or sponsoring a flag.

Morrow served as the lead artistic director, Kaup worked with development and community outreach, and Nicole Ware, CEO of Emanuel Community Center, oversaw the financials. A committee with representatives from ArtsWave, ArtWorks, Cincinnati Arts Association, 3CDC, Drop Inn Center, OTR Community Council, OTR Community Housing, Society for the Preservation of Music Hall, and YMCA met together to match 17 local artists with 30 neighborhood organizations that combined to create 26 flags.

The artists, ranging from 15-year-old Zoe Kolstaza, a student at the School for Creative & Performing Arts, to Matt Dayler of public art company Higher Level Art, were paid a stipend for their work. Each artist met with eight to ten members of their respective organization and participated in a facilitated discussion about their involvement in Over-the-Rhine.

“This isn’t a marketing ploy for companies,” Kaup explained. “The point of the flags is to tell the story of each participant.”

The final piece of the project came from public workshops where area residents could paint smaller, individual flags illustrating their involvement with the neighborhood. Workshops were held at the Drop Inn Center, Second Sunday on Main, Art Academy of Cincinnati, and Emanuel Community Center.

“At the Drop Inn Center charrette, people were so excited to be able to give something and be a part. Fifteen flags were painted that day,” Morrow told UrbanCincy. “People from the Drop Inn, from the neighborhood, even from an outside group that does ministry in Over-the-Rhine stopped by. The Drop Inn members got to show them how to paint for the first time, they got to give something back, and there was no power play. Everybody was there painting and learning together.”

More than $64,000 was raised with sponsorship money, and after expenses, an estimated $10,000 will be left over. Organizers say they plan to use the extra money to sponsor programming for Washington Park.

OTR Flags will remain on display in Washington Park through September 2012, and a reception will be held to commemorate the exhibit on July 19 at 5pm.

Jenny Kessler is a former UrbanCincy writer and now works for ArtsWave as a Communications Assistant.

Arts & Entertainment Business News

Cincinnati’s urban growth being fueled by young entreprenuers

It is not always easy to fully tell the narrative of a place and its people through words alone. This, I would suspect, is one of the most constant struggles for writers and professional journalists.

Over the past five to seven years, a tremendous amount of progress and change has taken place throughout Cincinnati’s urban core. This progress, however, is not just through bricks and mortar, but also the people who populate those buildings. In fact, those people are the most significant part of the equation. Without their ideas, hard work and passion, none of this would be happening.

Thankfully, Queen City Project has been documenting some of these people and their stories. Their latest video looks at a collection of young entrepreneurs looking to bring their new ideas to Main Street – literally and figuratively.

Cincinnati Growing Cincinnati is a six-and-a-half minute video that breaks down some of these individuals, but also identifies the start-up infrastructure in place that is helping foster their growth and jump start other new ideas with the help of seed money and support networks.