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ArtWorks adding 23 more murals to Cincinnati this summer


ArtWorks staff and youth apprentices will work on 23 mural projects around Great Cincinnati this summer. A project kickoff will be held on June 20 on Pleasant Street in front of the future home of the Rosemary Clooney mural.
 
New murals coming to a wall near you this summer include:
 
Annie “Little Sure Shot” Oakley Mural, 3211 Madison Road, Oakley
The mural will pay homage to Annie Oakley, who performed in a number of sharp shooter contests in Cincinnati (though Oakley is not named for her). It’s supported by Voltage Furniture and Vandercar Holdings, and the community can donate to a matching funds campaign with Sara M. and Michelle Vance Waddell here.
 
Female Legend Vote Mural, 1606 Pleasant St., Over-the-Rhine
This mural will honor singer and actress Rosemary Clooney, who was born in Maysville, Ky., and won a spot to sing on WLW radio with her sister Betty back in the 1940s. The mural will be part of the Cincinnati Legends Series, is in partnership with 3CDC and is supported by School Outfitters. The community can donate to a matching funds campaign with 1919 Investment Counsel here.
 
Kennedy Heights Art Center Annex Mural, 6620 Montgomery Road, Kennedy Heights
Lead artist Casey Millard and 14 youth apprentices will create a multi-medial mural on the facade of the new Carl, Robert, Richard and Dorothy Lindner Annex at KHAC. The community can donate to a matching funds campaign with American Scaffolding here.
 
Prost to Cincinnati Installation Series
ArtWorks once again partnered with the Brewery District Community Urban Redevelopment Corporation on this series of six murals that will help drive development along the Brewing Heritage Trail. The multi-media pieces will depict love and honor for the city’s brewing history and will be installed by a variety of artists. The community can donate to a matching funds campaign through Power2Give here.
 
Walnut Hills “This Is 5 Points” Mural, 2429 Gilbert Ave., Walnut Hills
This is the final mural in a series of five wayfinding pieces that identify and enliven the redeveloped Five Points Alley. It will be completed in partnership with BLDG.
 
Winsor McCay Mural, 917 Main St., OTR
McCay moved to Cincinnati in 1891 and created the first comic strip for The Enquirer in 1903. Panels from his most famous cartoon, “Little Nemo,” will be recreated on the Main Street building in partnership with 917 Partners. The mural is part of the Cincinnati Masters Mural Series, along with work by Charley Harper, John Ruthven and Tom Wesselmann.
 
Other mural projects this summer include a new Cincinnati Heritage Series that honors Kenner Products and the city’s toy design history; an art installation in the main lobby of Duke Energy Convention Center that will explore the theme of Cincinnati or the Ohio River; and a mural by local artist Jim Effler that will span two walls on Central Parkway to depict the creation of Ohio’s canal system.
 
Through a partnership with Keep Cincinnati Beautiful, ArtWorks also plans to create 12 new murals — New Lines OTR Alleyways Project — in Over-the-Rhine alleyways in an area bordered by Main, 13th, Sycamore and Liberty streets. The goal is to transform the more neglected spaces into works of art while making the alleys safe and more walkable.
 

Small-batch distilleries making a comeback across Greater Cincinnati


Before and after Prohibition, there were around 80 distilleries in Over-the-Rhine alone. And just like breweries, distilleries exited the Cincinnati market until recently.

Small batch distilleries are now cropping up all around the city, and the majority of them are focusing on tasting room offerings and local retail sales.
 
A bill was passed on the state level recently to allow craft distilleries to obtain A1 liquor permits and allow the sale of mixed drinks and food on-site, much like breweries and brewpubs. Changes may be coming to some of Cincinnati's distilleries in the form of craft cocktails available in house, but for now you can find their offerings in area liquor stores and bars as well as in a few of their taprooms.
 
New Riff, 24 Distillery Way, Newport
Open since May 2014, New Riff has made a name for itself in the world of small-batch distilling. It uses two different stills — a 500-gallon pot still and a hand-operated column still — to create gin, bourbon and rye. Distillery tours are free Thursday-Sunday.

Henry Street Brewery & Distillery, 108 Henry St., Over-the-Rhine
Located in part of the old Christian Moerlein complex, Henry Street will be the first brewery, distillery and winery in the city of Cincinnati since Prohibition. The distillery’s opening date remains to be determined.
 
Northside Distilling Co., 1326-B Springlawn Ave., Northside
Northside Distilling started distributing its corn whiskey a year ago, but the small-batch distillery was able to double its output in January and now can make 8-12 cases per week. New offerings include bourbon and craft vodka. They opened a tasting room where customers can try samples and purchase liquor to go. Call 513-549-3831 to set up a tour.
 
OTR Still House/Knox Joseph Distillery, 1820 Central Parkway, Over-the-Rhine
A new venture from the owners of PetWants, the OTR Still House will open in a 117-year-old, 17,000-square-foot warehouse and will produce gin, whiskey and bourbon. The building will also be a venue for live music and entertainment and will be available for rent. It will also serve as warehouse space for PetWants production. An opening date hasn’t been set yet, but keep tabs on the distillery’s Facebook page for more information.
 
Second Sight Spirits, 301 B Elm St., Ludlow
Started by two Cirque du Soleil alums, Second Sight is all about helping to build community — the distillery often hosts on-site corporate functions and charity events. Known for its rum, Second Sight also launched Villa Hillbillies Moonshine in April. Free tours and tastings are available Thursday-Sunday.
 
Queen City Whiskey a.k.a. George Remus
Named after George Remus, King of Bootleggers, the whiskey is distilled locally and has been introduced to liquor stores and select bars throughout the region. They’ve even partnered with local breweries to create unique beer styles with bourbon characteristics.
 
Woodstone Creek, 4712 Vine St., St. Bernard
Known as Ohio’s first microdistillery, Woodstone Creek recently moved from a shared space with Listermann Brewing to its own location. Liquor offerings include Barrelhouse, Cincinnati Vodka, Murray Cask Peated Single Malt Whisky and Ridge Runner 5-Grain. The tasting room is open 2-7 p.m. Saturdays if you’re interested in a sample or a tour.
 

Cincinnati State continues beer industry class as local craft tradition grows


Last fall, Cincinnati State added a beer brewing industry class to its curriculum, which it will offer again this coming school year due to demand. The class is geared toward those who are interested in pursuing a job in the region’s growing craft beer industry.
 
BREW 100 teaches students the brewing process and the different styles of beer. The class tours a brewery and works with that brewery to develop a class beer — in the fall, the class will team up with Urban Artifact in Northside. Urban Artifact will then brew the beer and tap it in December during the last week of the semester.
 
Last fall, two sections of BREW 100 worked with Rhinegeist and Christian Moerlein. The Rhinegeist class beer was an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie stout called Gramma, and the Moerlein class beer was a black IPA called Brewschool 100 or Curve Ball. This past spring, the class worked with MadTree on a strawberry rhubarb American Hefeweizen, which will be brewed soon and should be tapped in July.
 
Cincy State is also offering BREW 160, or the Sensory Evaluation of Beer, for the second time. Jeremy Roza, assistant quality assurance manager at the Boston Beer Company in Cincinnati, will teach the class.
 
The college is currently seeking approval from the Ohio Department of Higher Education to offer a certificate program in Brewing Sales and Marketing, which would start this fall, as well as an associate degree in Brewing Science.
 
Registration is currently open for the 2016-17 academic year, and students can sign up for classes online. BREW 100 is also available for non-degree seeking students but is not intended for hobbyists or homebrewers.
 

Former veterinarian switches careers to open online bakery


Ryan Carneson, a former veterinarian, moved with his family to the U.S. from South Africa on a medical visa. While living in Los Angeles, Carneson decided to switch careers and attended the Art Institute of California, where he graduated with honors with an Associate Science Degree in Baking and Pastry.
 
“I’ve enjoyed both of my careers very much,” Carneson says. “I loved being around animals and working with them, but pastry gives me a chance to express my artistic side. I have the freedom to create and design beautiful things. I love taking the raw ingredients and turning them into something beautiful.”
 
Carneson grew up helping his mother in the kitchen, but culinary wasn’t really an option for him in South Africa. But once in the U.S., he had the chance to start his culinary education and he began in savory and then moved to pastry.
 
The Carnesons relocated to Cincinnati in 2015 to be near Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center for their son’s medical treatments. Carneson decided that he wanted to establish himself in the community and decided to start his own business, Indulgence by Ryan.
 
The online bakery is operated by Carneson and his wife Lydia and specializes in custom cakes, cupcakes, cookies, desserts and a variety of chocolate creations. Carneson’s favorite things to make are chocolate eclairs and children’s cakes.
 
Carneson says that in the future he’d love to open a brick-and-mortar bakery that features all types of baked goods, including homemade breads. It might be a sit-down coffee bar, where customers can come in and order a coffee and enjoy a pastry too.
 
There isn’t a timeline in mind, but Carneson says maybe early next year, as they’re still getting their young family settled in Cincinnati.
 

Five Points Alley mural pays homage to Walnut Hills


Five Points Alley in Walnut Hills has undergone a major facelift over the past year. The area was resurfaced with a stable, pervious aggregate, and electricity and lighting were installed. It hosts the Five Points Alley Biergarten, it will soon be the home of Gomez Salsa and it’s the site of a new mural from BLDG.
 
The mural, titled Wind!, portrays chaste and stoic faces of Walnut Hills residents that over time are chipped away by wind to reveal the windblown faces of the same residents. BLDG knew of a similar project by local photographer Jon Bob; designers blew it up and created a larger-than-life project that’s now installed on the walls of Five Points Alley.
 
Wind! is a reminder to look underneath what is readily apparent in order to find the bright, playful and whimsical potential underneath,” says Sarah Dotter, events and public outreach coordinator for Walnut Hills Redevelopment Foundation.
 
Before its redevelopment, Five Points Alley was a forgotten space that has been reclaimed and rejuvenated by Walnut Hills.
 
“Under all of the litter, brush, illegal dumping and criminal activity was a space waiting to become a place,” Dotter says.
 
More art will be coming to Five Points Alley in the next few months. BLDG plans to paint a large mural on the side of Gomez Salsa, and this summer ArtWorks will paint the last of its five wayfinding murals (designed by international artists and installed by BLDG) on the side of the Race Refrigeration building, which faces downtown.
 
The mural will be unveiled May 5 during the Cinco at Cinco at Cinco event at Five Points Alley. There will be tacos and turtles from Gomez Salsa, Rhinegeist and Urban Artifact beer for sale and live music by Mambo Combo from 5 to 9 p.m. The Walnut Hills qualifier of Supersize Jenga for the Cincinnati Neighborhood Games will also take place during the event.
 

ReNewport calls for mini grant applications


The city of Newport unveiled its ReNewport Quality of Life Plan earlier this year, outlining six categories that the community wants to see improvement upon by the year 2025: education; healthy, safety and wellness; housing; economic development; parks, recreation and beautification; and community engagement. After two years of planning, these goals were announced to the public in March.
 
Newport has now established a mini grant program to help start the process of implementing ReNewport. The grants will help fund community engagement efforts for Newport residents who want to help advance the program’s goals.
 
Applications are now being accepted for the first round of mini grants. All projects must center on improving the quality of life in Newport, and all applicants must either live or work in Newport. Grants are available in amounts up to $500. Two or more groups that work together on a single project can submit one grant application and request a maximum of $750 for their joint project.
 
Funding for the mini grants is made possible through LISC Place Matters.
 
The first round of mini grant applications are due by May 31, the second round of applications by Aug. 31 and the third round by Nov. 30.  

If you have a project idea, download the mini grant application here.
 

Entrepreneurs utilize Findlay Market to develop sandwich shop concept


Josh Dickerson and Tyler Retyi-Gazda have something in common: Their pipe dream is to open a restaurant. But before that happens, they’re looking to get honest feedback about their restaurant concept, Grind on the Rhine, which served at Findlay Market for the first time on April 16.
 
“Our concept involves cooking on the spot,” Dickerson says. “We’re focusing on fresh food and fresh ingredients.”
 
When dreaming up their concept, Dickerson and Retyi-Gazda knew that renting commercial kitchen space would be expensive, so they turned to Findlay Kitchen as a cost-effective alternative to make their dream happen.
 
The focus of Grind on the Rhine is po’ boys, a sandwich invented in New Orleans during a streetcar strike. With the streetcar coming soon to Over-the-Rhine and downtown, Dickerson and Retyi-Gazda thought po’ boys belonged in Cincinnati too. 
 
Ideally, Grind on the Rhine’s storefront will open within the year, but Dickerson says they want to focus on perfecting their menu first. That menu is small right now, but once a brick-and-mortar restaurant opens it will be expanded upon.
 
The Showcase Grinder is shaved sirloin, caramelized onion, arugula and honey mustard on a ciabatta baguette from Shadeau Breads. Another menu highlight is the Pulled Pork Shoulder, which is pulled pork shoulder topped with a mango habandero BBQ sauce and apple slaw, also on a ciabatta baguette from Shadeau. There’s also a Chicken Muffeleta, which is ham and salami finished with an olive tapanade.
 
Grind on the Rhine also has an All-Day Breakfast, which is bacon and egg that can be topped with tomato and arugula. All of the seasonings and sauces are made from scratch by Retyi-Gazda, who is the chef. Sides include homemade Saratoga chips made from sweet potatoes and purple potatoes and rice and quinoa with walnuts, craisins and lemon zest.
 
Dickerson says right now they’re focused on serving on weekends at Findlay Market until they get their sandwiches perfected, and then they’ll expand from there.
 

New U-Square restaurant puts a fresh spin on French fries, hopes to grow into national chain


Scott Nelowet spent 20 years as an educator but decided that he wanted to branch out into the food business. While on a trip to Europe with his wife, Nelowet saw that Belgian fry stands and herring stands were everywhere.
 
“I didn’t want to reinvent the wheel but bring something back to the States that was working well over there,” Nelowet says.
 
He launched his Belgian-style loaded fry business at a vegan festival, where he concocted a vegan cheese sauce that festival goers loved. Nelowet outsold all of the other food booths at the festival and did a few others to get experience under his belt.
 
He launched French Fry Heaven as a snack brand in Jacksonville, Fla. in Fall 2011. It featured frozen fries and a variety of toppings and succeeded as such in shopping malls. But he wanted to think bigger.
 
“I got together a group of consultants who suggested that we get out of malls and do everything fresh,” Nelowet says. “So that’s what we did.”
 
French Fry Heaven’s menu now features fresh hand-cut fries, potato chips and baked potatoes that are topped with a slew of toppings, sauces and salts, all of which are sourced from local produce and made fresh in-house.
 
The restaurant at U-Square adjacent to the University of Cincinnati is about 2,600 square feet and features an expansive dining room as well as a to-go and delivery option. Menu highlights include the Buffalo Chicken, Garlic Chicken Parmesan and Pulled Pork, which is smoked in-house and topped with jalapenos and French Fry Heaven’s homemade cheese sauce. And it’s not all French fries — they’re also known for chicken tenders and smoothies.
 
You can customize any dish with any of French Fry Heaven’s 20 different dips and sea salt add-ons, including the spiciest option: a ghost pepper salt.
 
There’s a separate vegetarian menu that replaces the meat with cheese curds, which Nelowet says has the same flavor profile as the meat but within their dietary restrictions.
 
“Cincinnati will be the birthplace of the new French Fry Heaven,” Nelowet says.

From here, he hopes to franchise locations all across the country and revamp the existing snack stand locations to include this new menu. Many of the restaurants will feature a local craft beer list, but because Ohio's beer license and liquor license are one and the same Nelowet chose not to offer alcohol at the Cincinnati location.
 
French Fry Heaven is open 11 a.m.-3 a.m. daily at 206 Calhoun St.
 

Center for Great Neighborhoods hosts six-month "makers" class with small business specialist


Covington’s Center for Great Neighborhoods hosted a makers workshop last weekend for small businesses led by Ashley Berger Heyburn of Makers Megaphone, who is also an Etsy Small Business Specialist. Over the next six months, she will work with 11 Covington-based businesses to help them better market and grow their brands.
 
“This is the first time The Center has done an event like this, although other groups have done or are doing business training,” Program Director Sarah Allan says.
 
Most of the businesses enrolled in “How to Make Your Creative Business Thrive” have a few years of business under their belts. Going forward, Berger Heyburn will do one-on-one Skype calls with each business to provide further mentorship to address each business’ specific challenges; another group meeting in the Fall will wrap up the class.
 
“We’re excited about the class and are looking forward to the outcome,” Allan says. “We’ve worked with a number of these businesses before and are continuing those relationships, but we’re also working with some that are new to us and building new relationships.”
 
The businesses enrolled in the class are:
A Squared Decor
Erica Watson
Eye Candy
Fritz Kulhman
Meddling with Nature
Pique on Pike
Sharon Roark
Steven Sanders, CVG Made
Tess Burns, Wife of the Chef
Ties by Scotti
Yogi and the Farmer
 
The business coaching was made possible through a grant from LISC to help grow maker businesses in Covington. It was also held in conjunction with some of the work being done at Hellmann Lumber Mill, as several artists based at Hellmann are taking the class.
 

Findlay Kitchen to offer commercial space for food entrepreneurs, classes


Findlay Market hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony March 23 for its new incubator kitchen, the Charlotte and Edward Unnewehr Findlay Kitchen at 1719 Elm St. The nonprofit incubator has been in the works for a year and will help give food entrepreneurs the resources, work space and support to launch or continue their businesses.
 
The 8,000-square-foot, shared-use space houses 10 separate industrial kitchens so a number of businesses can co-exist and create at the same time. Several small food-related businesses have already joined Findlay Kitchen, including Gadabout Doughnuts and The Jaded Fork.
 
Findlay Kitchen is an affordable way for entrepreneurs to get started in the food business and have access to a commercial-grade kitchen, equipment and storage space as well as resources and support. There are also plans to use the space for pop-up restaurants, cooking classes and healthy eating education.
 
On top of that, Findlay Kitchen is partnering with a number of programs and organizations to provide the training, mentorship and resources needed for small business owners to succeed. The nonprofit will also help its members get their products in more places, acting as a conduit for wholesale and institutional customers.
 
One of those partnerships is Co.Starters: Kitchen Edition, a business development program for food entrepreneurs with ArtWorks. The 12-week program will be held at Findlay Kitchen and feature food-focused business curriculum, mentorship and networking opportunities. Class registration is $350, with sessions held 6-9 p.m. on Tuesdays, May 3-July 19.
 
Findlay Kitchen is also still accepting applications for members. If you’re interested in renting kitchen space, fill out an application here.
 

Cincinnati Shakespeare program helps students design own Bard-inspired projects


For the past three years, Cincinnati Shakespeare Company (CSC) has been working with Greater Cincinnati schools to put on artistic interpretations of William Shakespeare’s 38 plays. Called Project 38, the program is a yearlong process for CSC artists going into schools to help students create an artistic piece based on one of Shakespeare’s plays, with the works then performed at a week-long festival. 
 
“Many students say ‘I’m enjoying school for the first time,’ because they now have an artistic outlet where they get to create the final product,” says Maggie Lou Rader, coordinator for Project 38. “It’s the students’ passion that brings each and every project to life from start to finish. The student-driven Shakespearean projects bring these wonderful stories to life in a new way for the community every year.”
 
Project 38 is entirely free for schools as well as for festivalgoers.
 
This year’s festival is scheduled for April 14-18 and will feature more than 43 events at the Woodward Theater and in Washington Park. Performances include 18 pieces based on Shakespearean text, six pieces that incorporate music, three dance performances, 13 films, eight projects that have visual elements, two research projects, one computer-animated piece and 16 original works.
 
The week before the festival, Cincinnati Shakespeare will host Revel and Moonlight on April 9 at The Transept. The event includes exclusive live performances of Project 38 pieces as well as wine, cocktails and food. Tickets for Revel and Moonlight range from $25 to $250 and are available online.
 
“We hope that Project 38 will bring the entirety of Shakespeare’s canon to life in local classrooms and the city every year,” Rader says.
 
Project 38 also includes a free encore performances of Shakespeare in the Park’s touring performances of Romeo and Juliet as well as premiere the new Midsummer for Elementary Students, which is Saturday at 10:30 a.m. in Washington Park.
 
The Woodward will serve as home base for the festival and will be open during all activities. Festival attendees can go there to get information and learn about upcoming performances as well as see art installations related to Shakespeare’s canon.
 
Get the full Project 38 festival schedule here.
 

Pop! Goes Westwood looking for businesses to help activate vacant lot this summer


This summer, Westwood Works and Westwood Community Urban Redevelopment Corporation (WestCURC) plan to revitalize a vacant lot along Harrison Avenue west of Montana Avenue. Pop! Goes Westwood will help energize the neighborhood’s historic business district as well as provide local businesses the chance to set up shop there.
 
A 12-by-120-foot temporary wall will be erected in the empty lot next to Henke Winery owned by WestCURC. The wall will serve as the “front door” for the six rotating popup tenants and will resemble what finished retail spaces might look like.
 
Most of the retail offerings will be artistic-based packaged food or goods and preferably Westwood- and/or Cincinnati-based.
 
Along with the retail tenants, the bowtie-shaped space at the intersection of Epworth, Urwiler and Harrison avenues will serve as a public space for all types of creative activities, including Chase Public, Cincinnati Hamilton County Public Library, Happen Inc., Pones Inc., a popup beer garden, yoga by Four Directions Studio and Zumba by Robin.
 
The popup events will take place on the weekends June 18 through Sept. 11. A kick-off event is scheduled for 3 p.m. June 18; a full calendar will be available for the summer’s events by May 1 on the Westwood Works website.
 
Businesses must be open from 3-8 p.m. Saturdays and 1-5 p.m. Sundays. The fee to participate is $100 per weekend for one to five weekends, $80 per weekend for six to 10 weekends and $60 per weekend for 11-plus weekends. If you’re a business interested in participating in Pop! Goes Westwood, fill out an application here.
 

First State of Community Development conference to be held March 17


Community Development Corporations Association of Greater Cincinnati will host its first State of Community Development conference March 17 to provide networking opportunities for community developers as well as resources to better connect and market themselves within their respective neighborhoods.
 
Community development corporations, or CDCs, are nonprofits that lead the effort to implement a community’s vision, specifically when it comes to housing and business development. CDCs usually form when the private market has left a neighborhood but there remains a need to improve property values and decrease the number of blighted and vacant buildings.
 
Currently, 36 community development corporations operate within Cincinnati, spurring development projects in the city’s 52 neighborhoods. Here is a sampling of projects that are products of Cincinnati’s CDCs:
 
The Camp Washington Community Board has been working for years to give Camp the housing its residents needs. As of May 2015, the organization had renovated 52 neighborhood houses.
 
The Center for Great Neighborhoods focuses on creative placemaking in Covington, including facilitating arts grants. In September, CGN broke ground on its newest venture, Hellmann Creative Center, which will house community and event space as well as leasable art studios.
 
The Cincinnati Northside Community Urban Redevelopment Corporation changed its name last April to Northsiders Engaged in Sustainable Transformation (NEST). Up to that point, the group had created 17 single-family homes in Northside.
 
College Hill CURC has been working hard over the past year to provide the neighborhood business district on Hamilton Avenue a much-needed facelift. Most recently, CHCURC announced a new brewery will open this summer in a vacant storefront building.
 
The Madisonville Community Urban Redevelopment Corporation is another CDC working on creative placemaking efforts within its neighborhood. Last year, MCURC hosted its second annual Cincinnati Jazz & BBQ Festival with the help of a $9,000 ArtsWave grant.
 
Last spring, the Walnut Hills Redevelopment Foundation launched a campaign to combat obesity throughout the neighborhood. It started a creative placemaking initiative called Music Off McMillan in August and has hosted regular social events in the Five Points alleyway. WHRF headed up renovation of the high-profile Trevarren Flats apartment building and purchased the old Paramount Building in the core of its struggling McMillan Avenue business district.

Registration for the March 17 event is by invitation only; find more information here.
 

Renovations to Music Hall are finally becoming a reality


The need to renovate Music Hall in Over-the-Rhine has been at the forefront of arts and culture conversations for nearly a decade. Those plans are finally being put into action in 2016 as Music Hall Revitalization Company works to preserve the 140-year-old historic building.
 
Music Hall hasn’t been renovated for more than 40 years, so this overhaul is a big deal. Such a big deal, in fact, that Music Hall will be closed starting June 1 and won’t reopen until fall 2017, if everything goes according to plan. This means that the building’s resident companies will perform elsewhere in their upcoming seasons — Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Pops Orchestra and Cincinnati May Festival will perform at the Taft Theatre for the 2016-2017 season, while Cincinnati Opera will perform at the Aronoff Center for the Arts for its 2016 and 2017 summer seasons.
 
A few smaller renovations are already in the works, such as structural and office demo. Within the next 90 days, the larger part of the work will begin.
 
Renovations include:

Smaller seating capacity: 1,000 seats will be removed from Springer Auditorium to make the auditorium more intimate, and false walls will be erected on two levels of the concert hall to amplify sound. All of the seats will be replaced, and the new seats will be wider with more legroom. The main floor will be resloped, along with the balconies, and new boxes will be installed. A new thrust stage will be added for the orchestra.

Updated lobby: The lobby, which will be renamed the Edyth B. Lindner Grand Foyer, will have new torchiere lighting along the balcony railings to show off the ceiling, and the smaller Czech chandeliers will be replaced.

New patron lounge: A new lounge is being added at the back of Springer Auditorium, and new bars, concessions areas and LED screens will be installed. The box office and gift shop are getting a facelift as well.

New windows: The currently bricked-up windows on Music Hall’s facade will be restored to allow in more light, and new accent lighting will be installed to illuminate the building at night.

More restrooms: Bathrooms for both sexes will be added, increasing the number of stalls by more than 50 percent.

Improved access: There will also be improved access for patrons with mobility issues, including street-level access through the box office, more wheelchair accessible seating, mobile wheelchair charging stations and an assisted listening system inside the auditorium. Two new elevators are also being installed that will give patrons access to all floors.

Orchestra library reorganization: Music Hall currently houses the world’s largest orchestra library, but it’s not stored in any one location within the building. When it reopens, more than 140 years of music will be represented in one fire-protected room on the first floor. 

A public campaign is currently underway to raise the remaining $5 million of the $135 million needed for the renovation. To donate, click here.
 

Center for Great Neighborhoods announces third round of Covington creative grants


The Center for Great Neighborhoods recently announced its third round of Creative Community Grant recipients. A total of $30,000 was awarded to seven Covington projects designed to engage and impact the city through art.
 
The focus this round is on inclusion, highlighting the uniqueness of Covington’s residents and working to make all feel welcome in the community.
 
Braille-ing a New Trail (Northern Kentucky Council of the Blind)
NKCB is partnering with Covington chefs to encourage a more inclusive restaurant experience in the city. A number of restaurants are offering group cooking classes for the blind and visually impaired; in exchange, NKCB will give the restaurants large print and Braille menus. The Braille printer will be purchased with funds from the grant and housed at CGN for use by any Covington restaurant or service provider who’s interested in the feature. Wunderbar, the program’s first participant, will be teaching NKCB members how to make its famous pretzels.
 
Collective Mosaic Mural (Ximena Flores, Anne Marie Herrera, Luis Laya)
The mosaic will depict flowers blossoming into birds and flying as a flock, reflecting the Westside’s diversity, growth, community and transformation. The community is invited to help assemble the mosaic as well as bring items to incorporate into the design.
 
Little Free Art Studio (Annie Brown)
The free-standing weatherproof art studio will be much like the Little Free Library, but for art. The studio will have a variety of art supplies and invite passersby to create something unique.
 
The Mini Microcinema Exhibition at The Carnegie (The Mini Microcinema, C. Jacqueline Wood)
During March and April, The Carnegie will host a small pop-up movie theater in its gallery space. Seven weeks of programming will include film screenings, performances and moving image installations by a variety of national, regional and Northern Kentucky artists with diverse backgrounds and POVs. The Mini Microcinema installation is free and open to the public.
 
Raymond Thunder-Sky Spirit Tower (Thunder-Sky Inc.)
Thunder-Sky plans to erect an outdoor sculpture to commemorate the life and legacy of Raymond Thunder-Sky, a Native American artist who had a developmental disability. He traveled the region dressed as a construction worker and clown, drawing construction and demolition sites in Greater Cincinnati. Tom Tsuchiya, a Cincinnati sculptor whose work is on display all over the world, will create the sculpture.
 
Westside Makers: A Community Event (Calcagno Cullen)
The project aims to illuminate makers by hosting a “meet the makers field day,” which will produce the DIY Westside Makers Book. Any Westside maker is invited for an afternoon to set up shop outside, welcoming the community to join in. It will serve as a release for the book, which will feature DIY recipes, designs and instructions as well as stories and portraits of Covington makers.
 
What Makes a Street Pleasant? (Anissa Lewis)
Starting with one conversation, Lewis hopes to engage those who live on and around Pleasant Street in the Eastside neighborhood and find out what Covington means to them. The event will culminate in a large community-based conversation and will conclude in a face-to-face community meal.
 
Creative Community Grants are funded through a multi-year grant from The Kresge Foundation to help implement creative placemaking actitives in Covington, particularly the Westside neighborhood. CGN will continue awarding up to $5,000 per grant to a variety of projects over the next two years, addressing a different issue and theme each round.
 
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