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Artichoke cookware store hosting series of cooking classes, demos


Artichoke has been open north of Findlay Market for only about 12 weeks, but owners Brad and Karen Hughes have already had an overwhelming number of inquiries about cooking classes. But they’ve offered only demonstrations so far, not structured classes.
 
“We’ve done a number of different demos, including brunch, ice cream and strawberry pie,” Karen says. “All of the demos have featured the products we sell and talked about the basics of preparing the dishes, but nothing real in-depth.”
 
On June 25, Artichoke will host its first summer school cooking class, which will be taught by Chef Anthony Jordan of Invito Personal Chef. Jordan worked under Jean-Robert de Cavel for a few years and then started his own company to focus on healthy eating and tailoring menus and meals to his clients’ dietary needs.
 
“Findlay Market is a resource no one else in the region has, and it’s so great to be able to partner with the vendors and show it off for this class,” Brad says.
 
The class will meet at Artichoke and then walk over to Findlay Market, where Jordan will introduce students to market vendors and talk about ingredients. Then the class will go to Market Wines, where they will learn how to select a wine pairing for the menu and purchase a bottle to go with their meal. Back at Artichoke, Jordan will lead the cooking demo around a four-course light summer menu.
 
The cooking class will be held 4:30-8:30 p.m. and is $65 per person. If you’re interested, contact Brad and Karen at 513-263-1002 or visit Artichoke, 1824 Elm St., to reserve your spot. The class is limited to 10 people.
 
The goal is to host one cooking class per month, Karen says. But there are a number of other opportunities to come in and see something being prepared in Artichoke’s demo kitchen. A free Father’s Day demo and tasting of bulletproof coffee, which is made with coconut oil and butter, is scheduled for 11 a.m. June 19.
 
Artichoke partnered with concert:nova for a demo of Julia Child’s Le Gateau au Chocolate, which is being featured in the organization’s one-woman opera Bon Appetit! The demo is at 4 p.m. July 17; tickets are $30 and are available here.
 

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.
 

Adaptive reuse development helps promote bicycle-centered lifestyle in Pendleton


With the addition of bicycle lanes around the city, ride services like Lyft and Uber and the coming streetcar, more people are turning in their car keys for bike helmets. Many local businesses are jumping on board too and are teaming up with organizations like ArtWorks to help design bike racks.
 
A new Pendleton apartment building — designed, developed and rehabilitated by BiLT Architects — is the first to be named an official “Bicycle Friendly Destination” by Queen City Bike. Located at 512 E. 12th St., Abigail@512e12 has a number of amenities that make it bicycle-friendly.
 
Dedicated bicycle lockers are available for tenants, and there is also a fully outfitted bicycle workstation complete with bicycle stand, pump and repair tools. Tenants can also purchase a membership to Cincy Red Bike for half price.
 
Abigail@512e12 is a member of Queen City Red Bike, and tenants can enjoy the organization’s membership benefits as well.
 
There are no dedicated on-street parking spots for tenants, which helps promote a more bicycle-centered lifestyle.
 
The seven one-bedroom apartments began pre-leasing in April and should be move-in ready within a few weeks. Rent ranges from $840 to $880 per month, or $1.50-$1.60 per square foot.
 

Outdoor bar and beer garden to be first along Central Parkway bike lane


Queen City Radio will open this summer in the former automotive service and repair shop at the corner of Central Parkway and West 12th Street. But it’s not a radio station — it’s an outdoor beer garden.
 
The auto body shop also installed car and satellite radio systems, and the new QCR will celebrate that history by keeping the name.  
 
Louisa Reckman and Gabriel Deutsch, her brother and business partner, think another outdoor dining and drinking space in Over-the-Rhine will do well, and they want to pay homage to their German heritage.
 
“Both Gabriel and I have dual citizenship, and I lived in Germany for over 12 years,” Reckman says. “I actually had my first sip of beer in a Dusseldorf beer garden.”
 
Environmental remediation on the property began last June, and historic and building permits were issued in March. Reckman and Deutsch have been working on the building ever since.
 
QCR will feature gas fire pits, wooden tables and benches, lots of greenery and garage doors that will open when the weather permits. Reckman says it will be a place to tailgate or watch a game as well as enjoy a pint with friends, family, coworkers and pets.
 
“We hope to bring a sense of community and celebrate Cincinnati’s beer culture while restoring a local landmark,” she says.
 
QCR also plans to dedicate one day each week to help promote and support local charities, nonprofits and other causes. It will also be the only bar/beer garden located directly on the Central Parkway protected bike lane.
 
“I hope we are an integral oasis and rest stop for the local bicycling community as well,” Reckman says.
 
As for the menu, there will be a rotating list of local, regional and national best-selling beers as well as a full bar with wine, cocktails and boozy slushies. Beers will include 50 West, Blank Slate, Braxton Brewing, Listermann’s, MadTree, Moerlein, Rhinegeist, Rivertown and Taft’s Ale House as well as national brands.
 
Beer and wine will also be available to go, and QCR is also working with 53T Courier to offer a beer and wine delivery service.
 
Keep tabs on QCR’s Facebook page for updates.
 

Panino food truck owner opening restaurant in OTR


Another food truck owner is adding the title of “restaurant owner” to his resume. Nino Loreto, who started serving charcuterie and artisanal sandwiches to Cincinnatians in 2013, plans to open a brick-and-mortar location for Panino in the Union Hall facility at 1315 Vine St. in Over-the-Rhine.
 
Loreto is committed to sourcing meat and produce locally, and his menu will feature handmade, cured meats. His food truck has had a presence at Taste of Cincinnati for the past two years and has also appeared at a number of events around the city.  
 
The casual deli/restaurant will feature a meat counter serving made-on-site salami and charcuterie. The menu will be small, with the option to dine at Panino’s patio or take it to go. There will also be a bar and dining room that will be open for dinner. That menu will include wine and craft beer as well as charcuterie plates, crostinis, bruschetta, paninis and a small selection of entrees.
 
Loreto hasn’t announced an opening date for Panino yet, since once the meat processing facility is set up a number of the meats will take several months to cure.
 

Cincinnati Public Schools announcement puts Vision 2020 plans into motion


Seven Cincinnati Public Schools are getting updated curriculum for the next school year, the first changes in a five-year plan, called Vision 2020, to help bring greater equity, access and opportunity for all district students.
 
Traditionally, CPS has been divided into magnet schools and neighborhood schools. Magnets are harder to get into and often involve a citywide lottery for admission, while neighborhood school enrollment is based on where students live. Vision 2020 intends to break down these divisions and add specialty programming to neighborhood schools as well as some magnet schools.
 
Next year, Chase Elementary School in Northside and Woodford Paideia Academy in Kennedy Heights will have new art and culture programs. With the new fine arts initiative throughout the district, students at Chase will play in a band and students at Woodford will play in an orchestra.
 
An environmental science program will be enacted at Pleasant Hill Academy in College Hill. The school has access to about 18.5 acres of green space, and students will spend a lot of time learning outside.
 
A high-tech program will start at Hays-Porter Elementary in the West End, which will include online learning paired with traditional learning, and students will begin studying coding, robotics and gaming.
 
A gifted program will begin at Cheviot Elementary School, much like the gifted program at Hyde Park School. Student enterprise programs will also start at Rothenberg Preparatory Academy in Over-the-Rhine and Westwood Elementary School, where students will learn marketing and networking skills while designing and building new products.
 
Vision 2020 will expand during the 2017-18 school year and beyond, with other new programs starting across the district. A few ideas include building a high school ROTC program and creating a gender-based elementary school.
 
Program costs are being figured into CPS’ budget, but specific numbers won’t be available until May when the district presents its annual budget. 
 

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.
 

Neighborhood eateries are jumping on the outdoor dining bandwagon


Arnold’s Bar and Grill has been around since 1861, and with that long history comes a number of firsts, such as being one of downtown’s first outdoor dining spots. The courtyard between the two buildings has a retractable roof allowing the space to be open pretty much year-round.
 
Many other Greater Cincinnati restaurants have followed Arnold’s lead and now offer sidewalk, patio or rooftop dining. These are just a few of our favorites. Where do you go for outdoor eating?  
 
Downtown
One of Cincinnati’s newer restaurants, Americano Burger Bar, opened its patio just in time for baseball season. Plus it’s the only restaurant in the 84.51 building with outdoor seating. 545 Race St.
 
Over-the-Rhine
Che, which opened in January, recently added a tree-lined patio to its offerings. 1342 Walnut St.
 
Krueger’s Tavern is the only restaurant in OTR with rooftop dining. The space offers diners respite from the often-crowded neighborhood restaurants. 1211 Vine St.
 
Lachey’s Bar is known for its food as well as multiple TVs airing sporting events. Soon it will also be known for its patio, which is still under construction but slated to open soon. 56 E. 12th St.
 
Just when you thought Rhinegeist couldn’t get any better, they went and built a rooftop deck complete with a bar. The space is huge and includes heaters and great views of OTR. 1910 Elm St.
 
Uptown
Hang Over Easy boasts a back deck and lawn located between it and Bogart’s. Most days it’s just a lawn, but during special events it can host bands and different programming. 13 W. Charlton St., Corryville.
 
Mecklenburg Gardens, which recently celebrated 150 years in business, is the oldest operating restaurant in the area. Its outdoor beer garden has become a mainstay for regulars and newcomers alike. 302 E. University Ave., Corryville.
 
Northside
Under new ownership, Django Western Taco has seen some changes, but the back patio remains the same. Kick back, relax and enjoy a margarita and some tacos. 4046 Hamilton Ave.
 
The Littlefield is home to a wide variety of bourbon and small plates as well as a multi-level patio complete with fire pits for chilly nights. 3934 Spring Grove Ave.
 
Melt’s eclectic menu and community atmosphere pour out into its semi-covered patio at the back of the restaurant. 4165 Hamilton Ave.
 
Price Hill
Incline Public House sits at the top of the old incline route up into Price Hill, and so its covered outdoor patio offers great views of downtown and Northern Kentucky. 2601 W. Eighth St.
 
Hyde Park
The patio at Dutch’s has a backyard feel to it, complete with fire pits and a bocce court. You’ll feel like you’re having a cookout at home but somebody else made the burgers. 3378 Erie Ave.
 
Mt. Adams
The Rookwood’s multi-level deck, firepit and swings for adults adds to the historic charm of the former pottery factory, plus the patio has a great view of downtown. 1077 Celestial St.
 
Columbia-Tusculum
Pearl’s Bar doesn’t serve food, but its large outdoor patio surrounded by pine trees makes it just right for beer drinking. 3520 Eastern Ave.
 
East End
Eli’s BBQ has a backyard, lawn and picnic tables, which make lunch or dinner into a real picnic. If you’re there on the right night, you might catch some live music. 3313 Riverside Dr.
 
Newport
Hofbrauhaus is all German, inside and out. If you have a big group, head to the outdoor beer garden, where there’s additional seating and a lot more standing room. 200 E. Third St.

Pompilio's patio is home to the best bocce court in town, with the new season getting ready to start, and hosts live music on weekends. 600 Washington Ave.
 

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.
 

Melt and Neon's getting brunch, Myrtle's Punch House adding food menu


Molly Wellmann acquired Melt and Picnic & Pantry in January with an eye toward bringing food to Wellmann’s Brands bars such as Myrtle’s Punch House and Neon’s, which will happen in April, as will a relaunch of brunch at Melt.
 
Brunch at Melt and Neon’s will start April 3, with favorites from Melt’s old brunch menu. Not every item will be available at both locations, but a few highlights include banana French toast, the Northside hot brown and the Southwest tofu scramble.
 
Myrtle’s will start serving food April 15, which coincides with Walk on Woodburn. Wellmann’s Brands Executive Chef Lisa Kagen, former owner of Melt and Picnic & Pantry, curated the menu around small plates and shareable items, much like the idea of the punch bowl.
 
Menus at each table will allow customers to pick and choose what they want to order. The menu isn’t finalized yet, but there will be vegan, vegetarian, meat, fish and “iron-pressed” options to appeal to everyone. Kagen is bringing in items from other local food purveyors, too, including chips from Hen of the Woods, The Pickled Pig’s smoked pork tenderloin and flatbreads served on Fireside Pizza’s wood-fired dough.
 
Brunch will be served on Neon’s patio, weather permitting, 12-4 p.m. every Sunday. Melt will serve brunch 10 a.m.-2 p.m. every Sunday. Food will be served at Myrtle’s Thursday-Sunday, with plans to expand to seven days a week in the near future.
 

OTR's first cookware store opening near Findlay Market April 2


Retirement is typically a time of relaxation and travel, but not for Brad and Karen Hughes. The couple planned their retirement around Artichoke, the city’s first cookware store, which they will open on April 2 adjacent to Findlay Market.
 
“When we started looking for a location, the logical place was Findlay Market,” Karen says. “We could have opened a storefront on Vine Street and done great, but the synergy with the market is the key component of what we wanted to do. There’s nothing like it in the city.”
 
The Hughes started looking for a location about two years ago. At that time, the city was in the process of releasing a number of properties, including those located at 1824, 1826 and 1828 Elm St. They purchased the three buildings with the intent of creating a storefront for Artichoke with two apartments upstairs, and then Phase II will focus on creating a new home for themselves.
 
The 150-year-old brick buildings were stabilized about 15 years ago by the city, which helped in the renovation process. The project is LEED Silver-certified, and the Hughes have made sure to repurpose a number of materials, including ceiling beams that are now part of the countertops and displays.
 
In the entryway will be a Rookwood tile mosaic welcoming customers into the 880-square-foot retail space, which also includes a demonstration kitchen. The idea is to have chefs demo 60-80 percent of the time, whether that’s chefs showcasing products from Findlay Market or chefs from around the city trying out new recipes or restaurant favorites. The demo kitchen will also have room to seat 10 people for after-hours events. 
 
Artichoke will offer cookware only as a way to provide vessels for the food sold at Findlay Market. The Hughes are focusing on items that are responsibly and sustainably made in the U.S. and Europe, including Cristel cookware, Staub enamel cast iron, Revol porcelain cookware, Fagor pressure and multicookers, OXO cooking tools and new electrics and Wusthof, Global and Shun knives.
 
The basement will also be stocked with a line of commercial-grade products so chefs can get what they need locally rather than having to drive out to the suburbs when in a pinch.
 
“After retiring, we thought about moving, but we live in Over-the-Rhine and are invested in the city and community,” Karen says. “We hated to move away and not see what happens with all of the new businesses coming in and development projects that are going on.”
 
Artichoke’s hours will be 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday.
 

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.
 

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.
 

Third Cincinnati streetcar arrives, joins others in testing next week


Cincinnati welcomed its third streetcar vehicle on Feb. 11. The car arrived a bit behind schedule due to a manufacturing hold-up, but the entire streetcar project is expected to remain on time for its September grand opening.
 
The first streetcar vehicle arrived on Oct. 30, with the second arriving before the close of the year. The cars are essentially the same, except the newest one has “CINCINNATI” emblazoned on its midsection. All of the cars will eventually have the same decals, but the final look, size and placement were just recently determined.
 
The third car will now undergo the same testing the first two cars been through. Each vehicle must log 300 hours of safe travel before passengers are allowed onboard. The testing process will begin Feb. 17 and involves a “dead pull,” where the car is towed through the motions to test the mechanics, wheels and rails; then it runs the route under its own power.
 
The fourth car is scheduled to arrive within a few weeks, with the fifth and final one due in March.
 
Recruiting is underway for the Streetcar Grand Opening committee, which will help plan a grand opening celebration. If you’re interested in being on the committee, contact Brandy Jones at bjones@go-metro.com.
 
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