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People's Liberty project grantee, Rachelle Caplan


Local musician Rachelle Caplan recently received a $10,000 People’s Liberty grant to turn a vintage van into a mobile music discovery studio, or Caravan. The Ford utility van was gutted, painted with a vibrant mural by artist Jen Warren and rebuilt with comfortable couches, tapestries and an assortment of unusual instruments for any visitor to pick up and play.

The idea for Caravan came out of Caplan’s experiences as an organizer for Ladyfest Cincinnati, a local music, art and activism festival based in Northside. As part of the event, organizers put together an interactive pop-up music lab for children.

This session was the first opportunity many of the children had to play an instrument. Through this, Caplan learned that lack of access to musical instruments was a huge barrier to entering the creative community.

“Caravan was just like writing a fantasy grant," Caplan says. "I thought if I could do anything, I’d buy new instruments that no one has seen before, pack them in a van and have everyone learn with me. And now that’s what’s happening.”

The instruments in Caravan originate from all over the world. Some are electronic like the theremin or the Korg Kaossilator, a digital pad that was popularized by '90s rave music. Others are acoustic, such as a copper Hapi drum that Caplan says makes a sound like a steel drum mixed with a Tibetan singing bowl.

Many of the instruments are rare or exotic, such as an African Kalimba thumb piano with an amp pickup, or an electronic Indian drum machine from 1972. Caplan has amassed a collection of 13 instruments, but only a few of them are available at each public appearance of Caravan.

Caplan aims to make music accessible to everyone through Caravan. “If you’re old enough to hold something to make sound, that’s awesome. I had a 3-year-old be completely fascinated by the guiro, a giant frog you run a stick over. He was jamming so hard that his parents joined him. I am trying to target something across age. I had my 77-year-old grandmother at a session, and she loved it.”

Caravan isn’t just an opportunity to make music in the moment. Each session will also be recorded and will go on the Caravan website to stream for free. These recordings will be minimally edited, serving more as field recordings than complete songs.

Caplan has ideas to take the recordings made at these sessions and turn them into additional works of art.

“I got really floored by the idea of taking some of those soundscapes and giving those pieces to visual artists,” she says. “The recording could be the prompt for another piece, a platform to create from.”

Caplan also plans to share the recordings with musicians, who will help build the original recordings into finished works of music.

Caravan’s official debut is Friday at this year’s Ladyfest. From 7 to 8:30 p.m., Caravan will be parked in the lot across from Northside Tavern on Hamilton Avenue, and will be open for any curious passerby to come in and pick up an instrument.

Caplan aims for Caravan to be approachable for people who don’t have musical experience, but she also invites musicians to jam and help facilitate sound exploration at each session.

“Typically I have two or three musicians sit in,” she says. “I really want to have the spontaneous feel of organic creation as it manifests.”

Her “partner-in-crime” Daisy Caplan, of the local bands Lung and formerly Foxy Shazam, is at each session. Local musician and artist Warren, who painted the outside of Caravan, will also be there for the launch.

Caravan will be visiting festivals, craft fairs and other local events all over Cincinnati through spring 2017. To stay up-to-date on upcoming appearances and dates, visit Caravan's website or follow them on Facebook.

People interested in bringing Caravan to an event are encouraged to reach out to Rachelle Caplan directly.

Twice per year, eight grantees are chosen per grant cycle to prototype solutions to civic challenges. Project grantees are supported with $10,000, a launch event and access to People’s Liberty’s workplace and mentorship. Stay tuned to Soapbox for profiles of this year's 15 other grantees.
 

Four Cincinnati buildings to be added to the National Register of Historic Places


Four Cincinnati buildings — the Brunswick-Balke-Collender Building, the First National Bank Building, the Reakirt Building and the former Eastern Hills YMCA — are on the short list to be added to the National Register of Historic Places. The City of Cincinnati already recognizes the four buildings as historic, but now they’re waiting on the national distinction from the National Park Service, which oversees the registry. The final decision is expected in the next three months.
 
While actual “landmark” designation is typically for buildings like Music Hall and Union Terminal, other buildings can be listed for their importance to American history, architecture, archaeology, engineering and culture.
 
Brunswick-Balke-Collender Building, 130-132 E. Sixth St., downtown
The six-story commercial building was completed in 1891 for the Brunswick-Balke-Collender Co., which is one of the biggest manufacturers of billiards tables, billiard accessories, bar fixtures and bar furniture in the United States.
 
The building served as the company’s showroom until 1916, and is the only building in Cincinnati today that is associated with the firm. It has local architectural significance as an example of the 1890s Commercial style, with a riveted iron front and huge showroom windows on the second and third floors, as well as Romanesque details throughout.
 
First National Bank Building (Fourth and Walnut Centre), 105 E. Fourth St., downtown
Completed in 1904, the 19-story building was designed by Chicago architect and planner Daniel Burnham. It was one of Cincinnati’s earliest skyscrapers, and is one of the purest examples of the Chicago Commercial style. Its steel skeleton and masonry curtain walls, neoclassical details and distinctive three-part “Chicago-style” windows are all evident in early Chicago skyscrapers.
 
Reakirt Building, 126-128 E. Sixth St., downtown
Designed by Cincinnati architect Samuel S. Godley and completed in 1924, the Reakirt Building is an example of the early 20th century Chicago Commercial style. The 10-story, concrete-frame office building has brick curtain walls and limestone details, as well as stone ornamentation, copper cornices and large expanses of glass. It also has some of the best-preserved early 20th century interior features.
 
Former Eastern Hills YMCA, 1228 E. McMillan St., E. Walnut Hills
Completed in 1930, the former YMCA building served as a branch of the Cincinnati YMCA until 2011. The four-story, red brick building has limestone trim, a slate roof and a Tudor-style interior. It was designed by Cincinnati architect Charles F. Cellarius, who also supervised the architecture of the village of Mariemont from 1924-1941.
 
Being added to the National Register can help raise community awareness of the buildings, but it doesn’t obligate owners to repair or improve the properties. The listing also doesn’t prevent owners from remodeling, altering, selling or demolishing the buildings. However, owners of long-term tenants of the buildings who rehabilitate them can qualify for federal income tax credits. In Ohio, the state offers a 25 percent income tax credit for historic preservation projects.
 

People's Liberty project grantee: Nate May


2016 People’s Liberty grantee Nate May is a composer and pianist whose work is influenced by his Appalachian roots. Inspired by his upbringing, May received a $10,000 grant from People’s Liberty Project Grant II class that allowed him to compose a musical piece entitled "State: A Testimony to Urban Appalachia," which debuted in April at The Sanctuary in Lower Price Hill.


Though the live performance ran for only two nights, "State" was years in the making.

“I grew up in Huntington, West Virginia, and lived in Fayetteville,” May says. “While I was living there, I became really interested in Appalachian issues. I was looking for the next step to explore these topics.”

During that time, May wrote an opera called "Dust in the Bottomland," which focused on issues that Appalachians face.

That next step came when May was awarded an Appalachian Sound Fellowship from Berea College in 2015. He was funded to collect oral histories, and he planned to use that content as the lyrical text for a piece of music. May then connected with Community Matters in Lower Price Hill, which introduced him to Appalachians living in Cincinnati.

As May began to compose State, word spread about the project. May was told that MUSE: Cincinnati Women’s Choir had just moved into The Sanctuary along with Community Matters, and they, too, shared an interest in Appalachian history. May immediately reached out to discuss the possibility of collaborating on the piece, and the choir's director, Rhonda Juliano, enthusiastically took on the challenge.

“It was such a difficult piece,” May says. “They put a huge amount of work into it and pushed themselves.”

Classically-trained Cincinnati vocalist Kate Wakefield, whom May knew from school, sang the lead part, which tells the story of three urban Appalachian women using their own words. A trio of percussionists and a pianist brought rhythm to the piece.

“I’m really proud of the piece and it came across as I’d envisioned it,” May says. “And I can’t say that about every piece that I’ve written. This was the most ambitious piece I’ve ever undertaken.”

The experience of creating "State" opened many doors for May. He now works as a consultant for the Urban Appalachian Community Coalition, in addition to continuing to compose and perform regularly as a pianist. With the Coalition, May is helping to start an initiative for Appalachian college students in Cincinnati to explore their identities through research, advocacy and cultural events.

“On a creative level, having a vision that big, and that prone to failure, and then actually realizing it has given me a big head about the possibilities that I can undertake,” May says.

Buoyed by the success of "State," May says that he is now throwing himself into projects with a newfound enthusiasm and self-assurance.

“I’m taking on things I wouldn’t have undertaken before,” he says. He is now in the early stages of developing a collaborative musical project that will involve touring nationally. “It will be like 'State' in a number of ways, but even more visible nationally. I’ve found that my ego needs to be unrealistically large in order to actually accomplish what I need to accomplish. If it’s realistic, I’ll stop short of what’s possible, but if it’s unrealistic, I’ll push myself to the edges.”

May will be speaking about "State," and his other works surrounding Appalachian issues, on Oct. 6 at “Composing Appalachia: A Conversation with Nate May.” The talk is part of a series of literary salons organized by Pauletta Hansel, Cincinnati’s Poet Laureate. The event will take place from 7 to 10 p.m. at Lydia’s on Ludlow in Clifton.

A full recording of "State," as well as photos and video, can be found on May’s website.

Twice per year, eight grantees are chosen per grant cycle to prototype solutions to civic challenges. Project grantees are supported with $10,000, a launch event and access to People’s Liberty’s workplace and mentorship. Stay tuned to Soapbox for profiles of this year's 15 other grantees.

 

People's Liberty project grantee, Access Cincinnati


Kathleen Cail and Nestor Melnyk have known each other for years. After working individually to make the world a more welcoming and accepting place for children and those with special needs, they realized their work wasn’t just about disabilities.
 
“We want to create an environment where everyone is accepted and no one feels singled out,” Melnyk says.
 
Two years ago, Cail and Melnyk spearheaded a program called LivAble Cincinnati as part of the ReelAbilities Film Festival, which was developed around a video short that highlighted the obstacles people with disabilities face when navigating a city.
 
“What was most striking was that most of the obstacles were very minor and were simple to overcome,” Melnyk says. “These were obstacles that if corrected, would benefit everyone. They were really issues of universal design.”
 
After the program, the group stayed active and tried to come up with ways to promote universal design. LivAble Cincinnati looked at ways to educate, promote and develop those concepts in the areas of live, work and play in order to make the city a more livable, welcoming place.
 
According to Melnyk, people with disabilities comprise about 20 percent of the nation’s population. There is a consumer market out there that many businesses and organizations are missing out on if they don’t embrace accessibility and universal design.
 
“With momentum growing in Over-the-Rhine, downtown and The Banks, one of our ideas was to see how we could create an information source for people who might want to take advantage of bars, restaurants and other venues in those areas, but are concerned about their physical conditions,” Melnyk says.
 
During their research, Cail and Melnyk found that there were people who had never gone to those areas because they didn’t want to take their chances of going to OTR and finding out they couldn’t get into a restaurant due to physical limitations.
 
Access Cincinnati was born out of that research, and helps provide objective information that allows people to make their own decisions about what bars, restaurants and venues will work for them.
 
Cail and Melnyk looked to People’s Liberty for resources and funding — they were part of its Project Grant III class and received a $10,000 grant to execute Access Cincinnati, focusing specifically on the area from OTR to The Banks, along the streetcar route.
 
The pair developed a strategy to survey about 300 bars and restaurants in the project area, and held a survey launch event in August to educate volunteers on what Access Cincinnati is. Over the next few months, they will assemble information and provide an interactive mobile website that is similar to Google Maps or Yelp, but with accessibility details. The locations will be graphically represented and communicated via icons; Cail and Melnyk are also developing window clings for the bars, restaurants and venues to display.
 
Access Cincinnati will officially launch in early 2017. A relaunch will happen just in time for the National Veterans Wheelchair Games, which is being held in Cincinnati. During the Games, over 600 wheelchair athletes will be staying in and around downtown, along with their trainers, coaches, officials, staff, family members and spectators.
 
Twice per year, eight grantees are chosen per grant cycle to prototype solutions to civic challenges. Project grantees are supported with $10,000, a launch event and access to People’s Liberty’s workplace and mentorship. Stay tuned to Soapbox for profiles of this year's 15 other grantees.

 

Cincinnati to host preservationists for third Rust Belt Takeover


On Oct. 7-9, Cincinnati will play host to about 70 preservationists for the third Rust Belt Takeover. The first event by the same name was held in Pittsburgh earlier this year, and the second was in Buffalo; this is the first time the event will take place over three days.
 
“The Rust Belt Takeover brings a wide net of people from cities all across the country,” says Diana Tisue of the Cincinnati Preservation Collective, which is partnering with the Young Preservationists of Ohio for the event. “There will be a good mix of people from Cincinnati, Ohio and beyond.”
 
The Rust Belt Takeover isn’t just a CPC event — it’s a group effort among preservation groups from Buffalo, Cleveland and Pittsburgh, just to name a few. That collaborative spirit won’t stop at the end of the weekend, either.
 
Preservation groups support each other’s causes. When Tisue visited Pittsburgh and Buffalo for the first two Rust Belt Takeovers, she saw lots of “Save the Dennison” T-shirts. Before historic preservation meetings, words of encouragement have been passed back and forth from other organizations.
 
“It makes the preservation world more of a network where everyone is watching out for each other and offering support,” she says.
 
In turn, CPC has shown support for other groups, including preservationists in Fort Wright, Ind., who are trying to stop a developer from demolishing one of the city’s Frank Lloyd Wright buildings.
 
“This event is very timely for Cincinnati, and it brings together energized preservationists from all backgrounds and generations,” Tisue says. “It highlights that we’re all going through the same struggles, and we want to support each other as much as we can.”
 
Throughout the weekend, the preservationists will be taking a behind-the-scenes tour of Union Terminal with Grant Stevens, who has played an integral part in the building’s restoration. There will be a few other tours to, including one that will take people in buildings that are part of the OTR Adopt program, a downtown walking tour and a staircase tour.
 
CPC will take attendees to Walnut Hills to showcase what’s happening in the neighborhood, and there’s a scavenger hunt planned as well.
 
“This is an opportunity for us to really show off what’s going on in the city, especially in preservation,” Tisue says.
 
CPC also teamed up with Taft’s Ale House to brew a special beer — Preservation Ale — that will be available at a number of the weekend’s events.
 
This weekend, Cincinnati will also be the site of Heritage Ohio’s statewide conference, which many Takeover attendees will stay for.
 
There are a limited number of tickets still available for the weekend’s events. You can get yours here, as well as view a full schedule of events.
 
For more preservation events and to follow the Rust Belt Takeover and Heritage Ohio conference, search #preservetheNati on Instagram.
 

Fifth annual Cincinnati Street Food Festival brings food trucks and music to Walnut Hills


The Cincinnati Street Food Festival is in its fifth year, and will be part of the larger We Are Walnut Hills Weekend on Sept. 30 and Oct. 1. Seventeen of Cincinnati’s favorite food trucks will be on hand, and beer from the newly opened Woodburn Brewery will be available for sale.
 
“The festival promotes not only Cincinnati food trucks and local entertainers and artists, but it also shows the promise and potential of Walnut Hills,” says Sondra Palivoda, development co-op for the Walnut Hills Redevelopment Foundation. “Change is happening in Walnut Hills, and we want to show that development is possible and necessary, but so is community utilization and celebration.”
 
One of the major areas for redevelopment in the neighborhood is along E. McMillan, right where the festival is being held.
 
This year, the Street Food Festival will include interactive artists from Chase Public, the Cincinnati Art Museum, Head Start, the Walnut Hills Historical Society in partnership with Cincy Stories, the Walnut Hills Area Council and WordPlay, as well as a stiltwalker and a screen-printing poster station.
 
Sledge from WNKU will be at the festival hosting games and handing out prizes, and there will be a petting zoo featuring a kangaroo and a camel. As for music, four bands will take the stage with DJ Carl Hunt entertaining in between sets.
 
Food trucks include: Adena’s Beefstroll, Andy’s Mediterranean, C’est Cheese, The Chili Hut, Contini's Pizza, Dojo Gelato, Empanadas Aqui, Hungry Bros., Just Jerks, Red Sesame, Slice Slice Baby, Street Chef Brigade, Streetpops, U-Lucky DAWG, Urban Vistro, Waffo and Wicked Hickory.
 
The Street Food Festival will be held from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Oct. 1 on E. McMillan Street between Concord and Copelen streets.
 
Also that weekend is the Five Points Mural Dedication and Art Out Loud Biergarten at 7 p.m. on Sept. 30. There is an open call for artists and performance artists who want to showcase their work during the event. For more information, check out WHRF’s Facebook page.

An after party and Music Off McMillan will be happening at 5:30 p.m. on Oct. 1 after the Street Food Festival. The biergarten will be in Five Points Alley and there will be music from HuTown Holler.
 

Cincinnati native helping to start church for everyone in Over-the-Rhine


A new church in Over-the-Rhine will hold its first official service at 11 a.m. on Oct. 2 at the Woodward Theater. But Sanctuary’s founders want Cincinnati to know that it’s not your traditional church.
 
Sanctuary is non-denominational, and wants to give anyone, no matter where they are in their faith of lack thereof, a place to belong.
 
“We like to say that this is a church for the rebellious, rejected and right-brained thinkers,” says co-founder and co-pastor Shawn Braley. “OTR is full of those types of people — the rebellious and the creative — and we want Sanctuary to become a place for them.”
 
In medieval times, the church was at the forefront of artistic movements, i.e. the Renaissance. But over the centuries it has stopped being a trailblazer. Braley hopes to break that mold and create a space for creative people to flourish.
 
When Braley was a student at UC in 2009, he started hanging out in OTR and fell in love with the neighborhood. He loved the diversity and the rich history, but didn’t find a church that he connected to. (He grew up in a conservative church where he was loved but didn’t feel that he fit in.)
 
He didn’t go to seminary but ended up working for a church in the suburbs. While working there, he realized he wanted to start a church in OTR and told his pastor that. In 2014, Braley met Greg Knake, co-pastor of Sanctuary.
 
“Our visions of what a church would look like for OTR were spot on,” Braley says.
 
Knake had started a get-together called Beer and Hymns that met at MOTR Pub twice a month. A bluegrass band would play traditional church hymns, and attendees bonded over beer tastings.
 
As Braley met more and more people who were interested in starting a community in OTR, he realized they needed to hold more events. The OTR Potluck started around that time, and in 2015, Braley started Cincy Stories.
 
Although the nonreligious Cincy Stories grew out of Sanctuary, Braley hopes it will do the same thing and still be its own thing.
 
“We want Cincy Stories to be raw and real, and create a sense of community within a community, just like Sanctuary,” he says.
 
Braley and Knake chose to hold services at the Woodward Theater because it’s a beautiful and historic building that has a lot of meaning for the neighborhood. It’s also a picture of revitalization and has been brought back to life, much like the majority of OTR itself.
 
“OTR has always been a great neighborhood,” Braley says. “I love the inside and out of the Woodward and what it represents. I wanted Sanctuary to be in a place where the neighborhood goes that is established in a safe, comfortable and hospitable place that has visibility and history. The authenticity of the Woodward shows that Sanctuary is here to be in the neighborhood.”
 
With its first established church service on Oct. 2, the Sanctuary team plans to continue holding its tried-and-true events. Beer and Hymns is at 5 p.m. on the first and third Sunday of each month at MOTR, and the OTR Potluck is at 7 p.m. on the second Monday of each month at Rhinegeist.
 
Braley also helped start Sunday of Service — everyone meets at MOTR and heads to a community on Liberty Street in the West End. They serve the community in different ways and build relationships with residents and each other. Sunday of Service is held the second Sunday of the month.
 
“We feel strongly about OTR, and we don’t want to be a church filled with new or old residents,” Braley says. “We hope to be a church that really reflects the city, where people from all walks of life feel like they can come and worship together in bigger ways. 
 

Airstream trailer to house Camp Washington coffee shop


A new coffee shop, Mom N’ Nem, is slated to open at 3132 Colerain Ave. near Camp Washington Chili in early 2017. The shop will be inside of a 1969 31-foot Land Yacht Airstream trailer, and will have an adjoining coffee garden where patrons can enjoy a fresh espresso beverage and relax.

“There are plenty of biergartens, but you don’t really see a coffee garden,” says co-owner Tony Ferrari.

Mom N’ Nem will be the second coffee-related venture for Tony and his brother Austin Ferrari. The duo own another small coffee shop in San Francisco called Provender, as well as Hillside Supper Club with fellow chef Jonathan Sutton, also in San Francisco.

“My brother and I are doing this for my mom, Theresa,” Tony says. “She has been a contractor her whole life. We call her superwoman.”

Theresa Ferrari will be overseeing the trailer renovation and will also serve as general manager once the shop opens, which takes its name from a long-standing Ferrari family saying.

“When we were kids, whenever my dad would call he’d say ‘How’s Mom and them?’” The name seemed fitting for a family venture, and the shop logo will even feature a smiling characterization of Theresa’s face.

The Ferraris have yet to settle on the coffee roaster that will supply the shop with fresh beans. They plan to have one main roaster, but will also do a quarterly rotation of guest roasters to keep things interesting.

“We will have a focus on natural espresso,” Ferrari says. “We’ll serve minimally and naturally processed coffees, and there are only so many roasters that do this well and consistently.”

The shop will also serve baked goods from Tom McKenna. The menu will include toasts, pastries and an exclusive dish called “The Dirty ‘Nati,” which is a savory pastry featuring goetta.

The Ferraris have been working closely with architect Daniel Ewald to develop the rendering and design of the space, which will capitalize on the retro vibe that the trailer invites. Ferrari hopes that the space will serve as a community gathering place and a catalyst for new development in Camp Washington.

“This is a project for the community that we hope will bring more opportunity,” Ferrari says.

The Ferraris have worked closely with Joe Gorman, Paul Rudemiller and others from the Camp Washington Community Board throughout the planning process, and they're grateful for the warm welcome by the Camp Washington community.

The stationary coffee trailer will be the first of its kind in Cincinnati.

“I’m always taking a risk, but I know it will work,” Ferrari says.

Ultimately, Ferrari is driven by a desire to bring about new vibrancy to the West Side. “It’s important to give neighborhoods more opportunity, and we need to showcase this community," he says.
 

Cincinnati Design Week welcomes creatives to the heart of the design world


Cincinnati is home to some of the world’s most highly recognized design agencies and schools, and is at the forefront of global design. Cincinnati Design Week, which is Sept. 28-Oct. 2, is a chance for the city to showcase its creative minds. The weeklong celebration includes workshops, studio tours, panel discussions and a number of parties.
 
CDW is presented by AIGA Cincinnati and AGAR, and features speakers from all aspects of the design community. You can view the full schedule and list of speakers here.
 
Sept. 24: The preview activities kick off with the 16th annual OFFF Cincinnati creative conference. 9 a.m., School of Creative and Performing Arts, $25-50
Sept. 26: A Lunch n Learn panel, “Ignite Your Design Career with UX,” will teach graphic designers how to leverage user experience techniques in order to inspire their work. 12 p.m., Union Hall, free
Sept. 26: Five different female designers will share their best and worst work, as well as lessons they’ve learned, at KnowHer. 6 p.m., Gaslight Software, $15-25
Sept. 27: Freelance and independent graphic designers, copywriters and developers are invited to Indie/Breakfast Club. 8:30 a.m., The Hive, free
Sept. 27: Openfield Creative will discuss how design thinkers and makers can be so much more during Bending the Boundaries of Interface. 12 p.m., Openfield Creative, $15-25
Sept. 27: Building Bridges: Connecting our Design Community, a collaborative workshop that focuses on designing next year’s event, hosted by AIGA Cincinnati and Hyperquake. 6 p.m., Contemporary Arts Center, $10 seat holding fee, AIGA members only
Sept. 28: Designing and Prototyping with Adobe XD will focus on crafting a design with Adobe XD and using Photoshop, Illustrator and Live Preview. 2 p.m., Union Hall, $15-35
Sept. 28: Gaslight Software will give an inside look at agile design process during Agile Design: How to Fail Your Way to Success. 6 p.m., Gaslight Software, $15-25
Sept. 28: Networking, drinks and free food at Liquid Courage. 7 p.m., Igby’s, free
Sept. 29: Enjoy coffee and a chat with the developers of ArchiTour Cincinnati, a new app for self-guided architectural tours around downtown at ArchiTour Cincinnati: Coffee, Streetcar and App Design. Make sure to download the app first. 8:30 a.m., Coffee Emporium, free
Sept. 29: Print Talk with Mohawk will show you the ins and outs of the Mohawk Maker’s Field Guide. Lunch provided. 11:45 a.m., Contemporary Arts Center, $15-25
Sept. 29: Designing for a Virtual Environment: A Tale of Two Workshops will deal with the current state of VR. 6 p.m., Contemporary Arts Center, $10-20
Sept. 30: CreativeMornings: Jon Flannery. 8:30 a.m., TBD free
Sept. 30: AIGA Cincinnat will kick off its new In-House INitiative program with The Usual Suspects: Redefining In-House Roles. Cincinnati’s best in-house creatives will deliver practical workshops for Junior, Senior and Director Level creatives. 9 a.m., Art Academy of Cincinnati, $10-20

Sept. 30: The highlight of CDW is Alex Center, design director for Coca-Cola. He’s delivering the keynote speech, and will speak about his experience working within small and large organizations, and why he believes that the future of branding is in-house. 6 p.m., Woodward Theater, $15-35
Sept. 30: CDW Afterparty with Alex Center. 8 p.m., Woodward Theater, free for those who bought a ticket to the keynote
 
Tickets for all CDW events can be purchased here. Many of the events are free, but make sure to register for them!
 
 
 
 

NEST bringing tiny house movement to Northside


Northsiders Engaged in Sustainable Transformation has been renovating and building houses for years. On Sept. 25 — the same day as the Northside House Tour — the organization is hosting a kick-off party for its Kinda Tiny Houses development project.
 
Unlike the tiny house trend that’s sweeping the nation and setting up camp in Over-the-Rhine, Kinda Tiny Houses will be a bit larger, anywhere from 600-1,000 square feet. And NEST is focusing on abandoned houses that already exist in Northside, and renovating those properties to reflect the concept.
 
“When it comes to these rehabs, we’re taking advantage of an existing resource and creating a greater resource for the community,” says Stefanie Sunderland, founder of NEST.
 
NEST plans to renovate eight houses and build one new house into Kinda Tiny Houses, but there are potential plans for two more new builds. Four houses are already underway at 4222, 4238 and 4240 Fergus St., and the new build at 4205 Mad Anthony, which is on the corner of Chase and Fergus streets. The other five properties are scattered throughout Northside.
 
“These houses will all have smaller carbon footprints, and will tie into the existing infrastructure in the neighborhood,” Sunderland says. “I feel it’s also an environmental and sustainable design.”
 
All of the Kinda Tiny Houses will be visitable, or accessible for everyone. The majority of the houses are single-story, but a few of the larger homes are two-story. NEST wants to make all of the living quarters on the first floors of the homes because much of Northside’s housing stock predates indoor plumbing. When plumbing was added, only half-bathrooms were added on the first floor and you have to go up a flight of stairs to reach the full bathroom.


 
Architect Alice Emmons designed the Kinda Tiny Houses to help people age in place, as well as for Baby Boomers who are looking to downsize and Millenials who want to move into a less expensive, functional home. All of the houses are homeownership units as opposed to rental properties, and will be more affordable options when they hit the market in the next 6-9 months.
 
The project is made possible through a grant from BB&T Bank that helped NEST develop the prototype. The City of Cincinnati is providing NOFA gap funding, and Northside Bank & Trust financed a construction allowance.
 
The Kinda Tiny Houses Initiative with Kinda Tiny Bites party will be held from 3 to 7 p.m. on Sept. 25 at Urban Artifact. Attendees are encouraged to go on the Northside House Tour and then swing by for light bites, music and beer. The party will include a chance to view designs of the Kinda Tiny Houses, as well as the undergoing rehabilitation on Fergus Street. The party is free, but a suggested donation of $10 is welcome.
 

Carabello Coffee celebrates three years in Newport with expansion


Last weekend, Carabello Coffee kicked-off its anniversary weekend with the grand opening of its expanded coffee roasting space and Analog Slow Bar.
 
Three years ago, Carabello Coffee opened its coffee bar and roastery in a rented storefront at 107 E. Ninth St. in Newport. Once open, it only took a few months to outgrow the space. Owners Justin and Emily Carabello launched a Kickstarter campaign in 2014 to help with the cost of purchasing the building in advance of an eventual expansion.

With a boost from the Catalytic Fund and a Duke Energy Urban Revitalization Grant, the couple purchased the building and began renovations in early 2016.
 
With the addition of a new, attached storefront space and significant outdoor renovations, Carabello has doubled its space. There is now expanded seating in the original coffeeshop for daily customers, and the space now houses Carabello’s larger coffee roaster, a space for coffee and espresso professionals to learn on and test out new equipment and a large table that can be reserved for special events or meetings.

 
Unique for the area is Carabello’s new Analog Slow Bar that offers limited-engagement coffee tasting events for those interested in a more curated coffee experience. Similar to a wine tasting, the Analog Slow Bar features specialty coffees prepared and presented multiple ways during the five-course, hour-long events.
 
A highlight of the weekend was a visit from Nicaraguan coffee farmer Luis Alberto Balladarez. Carabello has been serving his beans for five years, and learning the ins and outs of coffee cultivation from him along the way.

During his stay, Balladarez helped curate the weekend’s Analog Slow Bar tasting menus using his own coffees.
 
As it expands, Carabello is committed to maintaining its philanthropic business model. Since the company’s beginning, the Carabellos have been committed to using a portion of their proceeds to support “works of compassion” locally and in coffee-producing communities in Nicaragua, such as an orphanage near Balladarez's home.
 
When to go
Carabello Coffee is open from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Monday-Friday and 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Saturday. The Analog Slow Bar will be offering a “Taste of Analog Coffee Experience” during its first two weeks of business. Tickets can be purchased here.

After the first two weeks, the Analog Bar will be available by reservation.
 
Carabello Coffee is also served at multiple locations in the Cincinnati area and whole coffee beans can be purchased at the coffeeshop or at any of the locations where it’s served.
 

Development along W. Fourth Street brings about a resurgence for the neighborhood


A stroll down W. Fourth Street downtown felt very different at the turn of the 20th century. For the better part of the city’s history, W. Fourth between Vine Street and Central Avenue was the epicenter of a bustling and lively urban core. Luxury department stores like the George A. McAlpin Company, H&S Pogue and the Gidding-Jenny Company were the places to go for high-end fashion and home goods. 4th & Vine Tower, then the home of the Union Central Life Insurance Company, was once the fifth tallest building in the world, and the second tallest outside of New York City.

Much of the building stock on W. Fourth was constructed in the 1860s in the Italianate style. The architecture retains historical significance, and 32 of the buildings on the street were added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. Though the area is brimming with beautiful architecture and value, according to David Ginsburg, the CEO of Downtown Cincinnati Inc., it still experienced a period of decline in the 1990s.

The decline is linked to a variety of factors, but the move toward building less pedestrian-friendly environments was a big one.

“As the suburbs developed and people left the urban core, city centers tried to fight fire with fire by recreating the suburbs downtown,” Ginsburg says. “They did things like build skywalk systems that got people off the ground level, and they got slower moving vehicles like bicycles off the streets.”

Tower Place Mall, the former shopping promenade at the intersection of W. Fourth and Race, opened in 1991 and proved to be an unsuccessful attempt to bring that suburban shopping experience to the city center.

“The suburban model just doesn’t speak to the street,” Ginsburg says. The mall was finally shuttered in 2013, and the City of Cincinnati then purchased Tower Place, as well as Pogue’s Garage across the street, later that year.

In 2014, the former Tower Place Mall was given another chance at life when it reopened as Mabley Place, a 775-space parking garage and retail space (which will soon be home to a high-end health club called Inner Fire Fitness).

After an extensive four-year planning process, demolition began this month on Pogue’s Garage. The redevelopment at the corner of W. Fourth and Race is a long time coming, Ginsberg says.

“Pogue’s Garage had a negative impact on the street. The pedestrian experience involved walking under an overhang, and people never feel comfortable walking under overhangs. The ground floor was ignored, and there was nothing interesting to see as you walked by."

Once the demolition of the garage is completed, a new $82 million mixed-use building will be constructed. Ultimately, the project will add 700-spaces of parking and 23,000 square feet of commercial space, all managed by 3CDC. Indianapolis-based Flaherty & Collins Properties will own and operate 225 units of apartment housing on the upper floors of the building.

“This is a key strategic and historical location,” Ginsburg says. “Redeveloping the site will better connect east and west, and north and south.”

The resurgence on W. Fourth also extends to new retailers and offices coming to the area.

“We have this nucleus of interesting, unique retail springing up,” Ginsburg says.

Retailers along W. Fourth include a Bang & Olufsen electronics store; Bromwell’s fireplace, furniture and art gallery; the newly-opened Switch Lighting & Design; and Koch’s Sporting Goods. Next door is Main Auction Galleries, an auction house that was started in 1870 and is the oldest in the region. Sleepy Bee Cafe is slated to open their third breakfast and lunch restaurant at 8 W. Fourth in late 2016.

A number of offices are also located on W. Fourth, including the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber, the Port of Greater Cincinnati Development Authority, The Greater Cincinnati Foundation and the headquarters of FC Cincinnati.

All of this renewed attention to the street is part of what Ginsburg refers to as a move toward “walkable urbanity.”

“We are going back to an authentic, unique, dense, mixed-use city center,” he says. “You want a walkable city — the higher the walkability, the higher the value of the real estate and the more vibrancy there is. We are going back to the old days, and W. Fourth Street is the poster child for the process.”
 

International street artists creating mural in downtown Covington


This past week, a team of internationally acclaimed street artists worked on a mural for the north-facing wall of the Boone Block Lofts in downtown Covington. The London Police, who are from Amsterdam, will be incorporating their iconic “lad” character into the mural, which is part of the Boone Block Living Art Wall.
 
A team of four artists, headed by the two founders of the London Police, will create the 40-foot-by-40-foot mural. The three-story wall that will house the mural will also be a vertical garden for mixed-media installations of art and plants.
 
Funding from the Greater Cincinnati Foundation launched the mural component of the initiative, and fundraising for the remainder of the project is ongoing.  
 
A “lad” was previously painted on the building to mark that the London Police would be back to finish covering the wall. The first green elements of the installation will be built on a trellis at street-level as fundraising continues.
 
The mural will pay homage to Mike Amann, the founder of BLDG, who passed away in 2013. He helped start the international street art movement in Covington, and played a huge part in bringing artists like the London Police, Vhils and Faille to the city. BLDG is curating the Boone Block installation.
 
The London Police is known for their lad characters and precision marking, as well as encouraging public engagement. Their body of work spans 16 years and appears in over 35 countries all around the world. The London Police recently did installations at the Quin Hotel in New York, The Coney Art Walls project at Coney Island and Sun Life Stadium in Miami; they were last in Covington in 2013.
 
The mural will bring together two aspects of downtown Covington’s revitalization efforts: public art and the restoration of historic properties. Other public art installations include the Curb’d parklets; Hotel Covington, which opens on Sept. 27; and several other residential projects.
 

Art Off Pike celebrates all forms of art for its 12th year


On Sept. 25, Art Off Pike is celebrating is 12th year, and it promises to be bigger and better than ever before. The free event, which will be held from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., celebrates art in all forms, and takes place along Seventh Street between Washington and Madison streets in downtown Covington.
 
Artwork will be available for purchase from more than 60 local and regional artists, and there will be live music, spoken word artists, performance artists and interactive art installations.
 
Here is what’s going on this year:
  • The Forealism Tribe will lead costume parades at noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Before each parade, there will be costume-making workshops so event goers can make outfits to wear in the parades.
  • A mobile sound studio and popup instrument showroom will be on hand from Caravan Traveling Sound, and Plop! will have its three giant beanbags strewn about.
  • Durham Brand & Co. will be unveiling it is new mural on the arcade between Seventh and Pike streets, which is across the street from Braxton Brewing. The mural, funded by Cov10, features Covington native and Tony Award Winner and Academy Award nominee Una Merkel.
  • Music, food and live entertainment will be set up next to Braxton in the Madlot. Smoking Zeus will open the event and Baoku’s 10-piece band led by Baoku Moses will close the event. There will be local food trucks, and several Covington restaurants will be open for business before, during and after Art Off Pike.
Check out Art Off Pike's website for a full schedule of events.
 
 

Cincinnati Food + Wine Classic relocates, adds more foodie events to lineup


During the last weekend in September, the Cincinnati Food + Wine Classic will bring highlights from the Midwest culinary scene to the banks of the Ohio River. The event, which launched in 2014 at Washington Park, has relocated this year to Yeatman’s Cove, and is expected to accommodate a crowd of 9,000 people over the three days.

Co-founders Donna Covrett, the former dining editor for Cincinnati Magazine, and Courtney Tsitouris, of City Stories, established the CFWC to bring more attention to Cincinnati’s growing reputation as a foodie destination.

“Since our launch, our mission has been to capture the energy and enthusiasm of the Midwest's dynamic food and beverage scene, and to position the region as an exciting culinary nucleus,” Tsitouris says.

The CFWC will feature tastings from over 100 local, regional, national and international chefs. It will also feature wine and beer tastings, live cooking and kitchen demonstrations, an artisan marketplace and live local music.

The event kicks off with the Grill Invitational signature event from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Friday. Thirty chefs from across the country will be grilling live for a panel of judges and a hungry crowd. Along with the grill showdown, patrons will be able to enjoy desserts from one of three specialty pavilions and sip on a variety of 40 beverage options from the Wine and Beer Pavilion. The evening will be set to a live soundtrack, provided by the Northern Kentucky Bluegrass Band and the Buffalo Wabs & The Price Hill Hustle.

The party continues on Saturday with two grand tastings, featuring dishes from 30 restaurants, including live demos, seminars, guided tastings, author talks, panel discussions and live musical entertainment from The Soul Refugees with guests Eugene Goss and Bethany Whitten.

Also on Saturday is the Recipes and a Dream cooking competition, which will feature the three chefs from Soapbox's August Speaker Series. Mandira Jacob of Oh Little Mustard Seed, Chef Dionne McCaskill-Alston of All Day Kitchen and Pantry and Tyler Retyi-Gazda of Grind on the Rhine will compete Chopped-style for prize money.

The weekend wraps up on Sunday with the Rising Stars Brunch Grand Tasting, which is a brunch by-the-bite with dishes from about 24 up-and-coming sous chefs, chefs de cuisines, pastry chefs and spirits experts in Cincinnati. There will also be 12 different breakout sessions going on throughout the day, including the third annual Somm Slam, a competition and interactive blind tasting among five sommeliers.

Tickets are on sale now and will also be available the day of. Tickets are $95 each for one of the four grand tastings. After standard price tickets sell out, the price will increase to $115.

The CFWC donates a percentage of event profits to Freestore Foodbank and Findlay Market. There will also be a raffle for an ArteFlame Grill (valued at $1,850) during the event, with proceeds supporting Freestore Foodbank.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit CFWC's website.
 
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