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Nine local nonprofits and individuals receive funding from NEA for creative projects


For its first round of grant funding in 2017, the National Endowment for the Arts doled out more than $300 million to nonprofits and individuals in 48 states, Washington, D.C. and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
 
This year’s grants cross all artistic disciplines, and fall into one of the four grant categories: Art Works, Art Works: Creativity Connects, Challenge America and Creative Writing Fellowships.
 
Nine local organizations and one individual received a total of $180,000 in this round of funding.
 
Center for Great Neighborhoods
The Center received $20,000 in funding, which will be used for the design and art commissions for the lobby at the new Hellmann Creative Center. The goal is to turn the lobby into a work of art; additional funds will be used for collaborative art pieces, open workshops and artist or resident-led classes.

Cincinnati Ballet
Hip-hop choreographer Jennifer Archibald, as part of the Kaplan New Works Series, will use the Ballet's $20,000 grant to help support the creation of a new piece. New Works is an all-female choreographic production that will explore poverty, hope, finding beauty in surprising places and shared connections between choreographer and artist. Performances will be held at the Aronoff Center for the Arts later in the year.
 
Cincinnati Opera
The $20,000 NEA grant will support the Opera's performance of “The Magic Flute” by Mozart. Music will come to life through larger-than-life animation and visual storytelling, and concerts will combine film, performance and music to give the traditional piece a fresh and unique look. Up to three performances will take place at the Aronoff this summer.
 
Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park
The $10,000 grant will go toward the premiere of “All the Roads Home” by Jen Silverman. The production will feature three generations of women and the legacies they inherit, which aligns with the Playhouse’s mission to produce new work to help support the evolution of the American theater canon, as well as its continued commitment to celebrating women’s stories and the issues they deal with. Performances will be held at the Shelterhouse Theatre this spring.
 
Cincinnati Shakespeare Company
The $10,000 in grant funds will be used for PROJECT38, an arts and education initiative. Throughout the year, students will explore Shakespeare’s canon, and students from local schools will work with Cincinnati Shakespeare’s Resident Ensemble of teaching artists to co-create 38 interpretations — dramatic, musical, visual and dance — of his 38 plays. The project will culminate in a weekend festival where students will come together to share what they’ve created with family, friends and the community.
 
Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra
The $40,000 NEA grant will support the CSO's Classical Roots concert, which will feature guest artists and the Classical Roots Community Mass Choir. The concert will be held at Crossroads Church, and will serve as a community-wide celebration of African-American musical heritage.
 
Contemporary Arts Center
The CAC received $25,000, which will be used for Ugo Rondinone's “Vocabulary of Solitude” series — an immersive experience that will combine a variety of materials and objects, gallery architecture and visitors as collaborators. The installation will feature a neon rainbow, colored gels on windows, floating mandalas, paintings, painted windows, life-sized clown sculptures and public programming that will be developed in partnership with a variety of community organizations. There are plans for the piece to be recreated in several other venues.
 
Contemporary Dance Theater
The $10,000 grant will be used to support the presentation of CDT’s 44th and 45th Guest Artist Series. In addition to performances, artists will share a variety of activities with the community, such as classes, lectures, workshops and receptions. Performances will be at the Aronoff in partnership with the Cincinnati Arts Association.
 
Corey Van Landingham received $25,000 for a creative writing fellowship.
 

PAR Projects opens new space to art installations


Since its inception in 2010, PAR Projects has had many different homes in Northside, but never one that the organization has owned outright, until now. PAR’s new space, which is located in an old lumberyard at 1662 Hoffner St., will undergo a complete transformation within the next year.

The organization's goal is to create a space for exhibits, arts education and an outdoor movie theater, all made entirely from shipping containers.

Lisa Walcott’s “Swarms” is the first installation in PAR’s 1,100-square-foot gallery, called The Nook. Her whole exhibit, Making Space, is on display at PAR through Nov. 27.
 
PAR purchased the two-story, 6,000-square-foot building and surrounding lot in 2014. They originally planned to demolish the building and start from scratch, but after discovering that the roof wasn’t as bad as originally thought, they decided to keep the building and renovate it.
 
A few years ago, PAR started a traveling art gallery — Makers Mobile — in a shipping container. The container is currently sitting at the Hoffner site, and houses another part of Walcott’s exhibit. It will become the first piece of a new building that will be built entirely from shipping containers.
 
Another two shipping containers will be stacked to create the outdoor theater screen, by next spring, PAR hopes to start showing movies. The group wants to add two more containers to create classrooms for the media arts.  
 

People's Liberty grantee takes his mobile science lab to streets


Aaron Greene has a passion for science. As the program chair for bioscience technology at Cincinnati State, his work “encapsulates everything from pharmaceuticals to environmental biology.” Bioscience technology is applied to things as varied as the creation of insulin for diabetics, techniques for cleaning up the Mill Creek watershed and the development of new foods and flavors.

Though Greene is well-versed in the many applications of science in our everyday lives, he recognizes that not everyone shares his understanding, and that many people regard science as intimidating.

“What I hear is that ‘science isn’t for me, I’m not good at it’,” he said. “But it’s not something for somebody else, and it’s not something you’re good at to start with. It’s for everyone.”

A desire to dispel the misconceptions about science led Greene to apply for a $10,000 People’s Liberty grant for a project he calls It’s Just Science.

“My main goal is to show people that it’s not scary," Greene said. "It’s much more accessible than people give it a chance to be.”

When he applied for the grant, he had to clarify exactly how he’d make science approachable for the general public.

“How do we get it out there and into the hands of people?” Greene briefly considered using a tent or a pop-up camper to house a portable science lab. “But we really wanted to reinforce the accessibility and make it as mobile as possible, so we settled on a tricycle.”

Greene worked with a custom tricycle company based in Oregon to create a collapsible lab on wheels. The trike includes fold-out shelves on the side, which Greene will pack with microscopes and DNA extraction kits as he travels throughout the city.

Greene is busy reaching out to local libraries, community centers, events and even breweries to bring his mobile lab to learners of all ages and experience levels. “The trike is to break down the initial barrier, lowering the hurdles to the public," he said.

“Demystifying science is at the heart of this whole project,” Greene said. The soft launch of the It’s Just Science tricycle will happen in the coming weeks, but Greene already has his sights set on big goals for the future.

“I’m looking at a physical presence in an unused storefront to do a larger launch,” he shared. Ultimately, Greene has dreams of establishing a community lab where people can explore science in a less stressful environment than the classroom, under the supervision of scientists and graduate students who know science and can answer questions.

“As a scientist, I already understand the uses for these technologies,” Greene said.

But he anticipates that engaging people from different backgrounds in scientific exploration could yield new approaches to old problems. “I’ll be interested to see what comes out of it. When you think outside the box and let new minds come in, that’s where you get a lot of new innovation.”

To get up-to-date information on upcoming It’s Just Science appearances and find out where you can catch it next, visit its Facebook page.

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, Who 'They' Is


Jasmine Humphries is spending six weeks working with 20 teenagers from all over the city on a creative placemaking project in Avondale. Her idea, Who ‘They’ Is, was funded through a $10,000 People’s Liberty grant.
 
Who ‘They’ Is focuses on “they” as a singular entity, as in: “They said this…” or “They did that…”
 
“The goal is to use different ways to humanize and demystify ‘they’ to empower citizens,” Humphries said.
 
The project officially launched on Oct. 1 at People’s Liberty, and will wrap up with the big reveal scheduled for Nov. 5. During the six-week project, the teens will be exploring the world of planning and design, and will use what they learn to create a park within Lincoln Park in Avondale.
 
“Lincoln Park is underutilized, and I want to help make things happen,” Humphries said. “Other things will happen because of this project.”  
 
Who ‘They’ Is won’t culminate in permanent or semi-permanent construction due to time constraints, but rather in a placemaking event like Parking Day, called Space to Pla(y)ce.
 
Students will learn about the park designing process, including planning, designing, empowering a community and meeting stakeholders. Although Humphries doesn’t have a formal planning background — she has a degree in economics and spent a year as an AmeriCorps vista working at LISC — she believes that everyone should be introduced to planning and design and the different career paths available.
 
The first week, students worked on teambuilding, and the park will grow from those connections and teamwork. The second week included a site visit in Avondale.
 
“First we have to build a social community among ourselves and identify leadership styles,” Humphries said. “Then we will start talking about building the physical community, which is in this case, a park.”
 
Long-term, Humphries wants to focus on diversifying the workforce, and to start to mold socially responsible and culturally aware professionals. She also wants to show the people of Cincinnati and its organizations that young people are capable of designing, and that their opinions and voices are important and valuable.
 
“Through this project, lots of people will see these kids’ designs and their feedback; they’re going to be blown away,” she said. “I want to tap into the human capital, and I feel that kids have a lot of potential. We as adults are asking questions and trying to answer them, but imagine if you gave that problem to a 12-year-old. They will come up with an entirely different solution.”
 
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.
 

UC Blue Ash to host another Entrepreneur Speaker Series


JTM Food Group, one of the world’s leading food-processing companies, is sponsoring an entrepreneurial class at the University of Cincinnati Blue Ash. The fourth installment of the Entrepreneur Speaker Series will feature Tony Maas, president of JTM, whose family started the company more than 50 years ago with a butcher shop.
 
The class is open to business owners, entrepreneurs and anyone who is interested in hearing from an international business leader. During the class, Maas will share secrets to his family’s success.
 
Maas will share details of how in 1960, his father founded Maas Brothers Meats and created a vision for the company and identified growth opportunities. Today, JTM products can be found in delis, restaurants, schools, convenience stores and grocery stores around the world. JTM also provides packaged foods to the U.S. military.
 
 Kent Lutz, UC Blue Ash business/economics professor will interview the speaker on stage and take questions from the audience in this interactive format.
 
Past ESS speakers include Patty Brisben, founder of Pure Romance; Craig Kurz, owner of Honeybaked Ham; Buddy LaRosa, founder of LaRosa’s Pizza; and Jeff Wyler of Wyler Automotive Group.
 
UC Blue Ash College Entrepreneur Speaker Series featuring Maas will be held on Oct. 26 from 7 to 8 p.m., with a reception to follow, in the Muntz Auditorium on the UC Blue Ash Campus. The event and reception are free and open to everyone.
 
Seating is limited and registration is required. To register, visit www.ucblueash.edu/ess, or call 513-936-1632 for more information.

You can watch past ESS events here, as well as view photos.
 

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.
 

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.
 

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.
 

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.
 

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. 
 

Civic Garden Center celebrates 74 years, builds community through gardening


Now in its 74th year, Civic Garden Center (CGC) is focused on building community through gardening, education and environmental stewardship. A number of different programs help educate the public about sustainable gardening and conservation at the grassroots level, which in turn improves Cincinnati’s little corner of the environment.
 
Its main program, community gardens, helps build community garden plots throughout Cincinnati’s core in mainly low- to moderate-income neighborhoods. There are about 60 community garden plots in the city, and volunteers who are mostly residents of those neighborhoods operate them.
 
“It takes more than one person to build a community, and it also takes a lot of people to garden,” says Jared Queen, director of development and marketing for CGC. “When people come together to do something bigger than themselves, it can give them a sense of purpose.”
 
The focus of the community garden plots is on fruits and vegetables, not flowers — the plots yield thousands of pounds of fresh produce each year, and a lot of it is in turn donated to Freestore Foodbank.
 
Along with the community garden program, CGC operates a school garden program at 90 different schools, churches and community organizations throughout Greater Cincinnati. The gardens are living and learning labs where students have the opportunity to leave the classroom and go into the garden to learn about nature, where food comes from and the life cycle of plants.
 
On top of that, CGC offers teacher education that’s free and focused on school gardening. The organization also donates seeds and other materials so schools can operate the gardens themselves.
 
“The mission of the school garden program is to help provide positive experiences in nature for students and teachers so they can become lifelong learners and lovers of nature,” says Mary Dudley, director of children’s education at CGC.
 
This fall, Mt. Auburn International Academy will receive a new $10,000 garden with 20 seeder raised beds. CGC is helping to restart the garden at Covedale Elementary School and adding two new beds at Silverton Paideia Academy. Shine Nurture Center in Mt. Airy is also receiving a garden courtesy of CGC. By next spring, there will be about 100 school gardens inside the I-275 loop.
 
When CGC moved to its current Avondale location in 1949, there was a gas station adjacent to the property that closed in the 1950s or ‘60s. CGC purchased the site in the 1980s but wasn’t able to raise capital to fix up the blighted property until 2007. The Green Learning Station opened on the spot in 2011 and is a fully functioning educational tool that helps teach kids and adults about sustainability and environmental science.
 
For example, the Metropolitan Sewer District contributed $600,000 so CGC could help educate the public on combined sewer overflow. Through the efforts at the Green Learning Station, Queen says that Cincinnati’s total amount of sewage dumped into natural freshwater ways has been decreased from 14 billion to 11 billion gallons.
 
In order to operate all of these programs free of charge, CGC has to receive grant money or hold fundraisers. Its largest fundraiser, THE Plant Sale, will be held May 6-8. This is the 56th year for the plant sale, which started as a plant swap between gardeners.
 
“This sale really speaks to our organization because it started at the grassroots level,” Queen says. “To this day, it’s still run by hundreds of volunteers and shows our humble beginnings as an organization.”
 
The sale starts Friday night with a ticketed preview event, which sells lots of tickets because the event doesn’t restock. Once a plant is gone, it’s gone. The sale continues Saturday and Sunday and is free to attend and open to the public.
 
There will be a wide variety of plants available, including herbs, fruits and vegetables, sun perennials, hastas and donated perennials at 17 different booths. In the tradition of how the event started, you can split a plant you grew at home and donate it to the sale, with all the profit going to CGC.
 
The Green Flea, which is a nod to City Flea, will be held the same weekend, featuring new and gently used gardening implements and decorations available for sale.
 
Tickets to the Friday preview event start at $75 and can be purchased 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.
 

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.
 

Second NKY incubator kitchen focuses on helping small food companies get started


Two years ago, Rachel DesRochers of Grateful Grahams opened the Northern Kentucky Incubator Kitchen to help local food producers get their products off the ground. She is continuing that goal with a second, smaller incubator kitchen located in St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Newport.
 
The Hatchery is a micro incubator — a place where new businesses can start to “hatch” their ideas. It’s much smaller than the 5,000-square-foot NKYIK, making it the perfect space for small business owners to get their feet wet.

Across the river, Findlay Market’s larger kitchen incubator (8,000 square feet with 10 kitchen areas) is about a month away from opening its doors.
 
“We’re seeing companies that have an idea and have worked out of a lot of the kinks in their home kitchens but now they’re ready to take a step into a commercial kitchen,” DesRochers says.
 
Her goal is to have about six tenants in the kitchen, each for 40-60 hours per week. Three have signed leases and are scheduled to move in this month: Firecracker Bakery, Grass Fed Gourmet and Passion in my Pans. Three other businesses have shown interest in The Hatchery.
 
“I hope that The Hatchery brings a new launch pad to the region,” DesRochers says. “The more launch pads we can create, the more companies that are willing to put their dreams into action. If we can help create sustainable growth plans one-on-one with these companies, we can create long-term sustainable companies.”
 
DesRochers spends a lot of time meeting, sharing and helping new companies come up with a game plan. She guides them through the process so they’re not stressed about paying rent or getting insurance.
 
Between The Hatchery and NKYIK, DesRochers is starting to look at how she can further build out community programs and help serve more “foodpreneurs.” In February, she’s starting Kitchen Convos, an intimate conversation about the food industry. Tickets are $5 and are available here. (If you can’t make the event, stay tuned for the Kitchen Convos podcast to be produced by Unravel Productions.)
 

Creative types to gather for PechaKucha Night


Local creative types will gather at Rhinegeist Jan. 14 for PechaKucha Night, which started in Tokyo in 2003 as an event where young designers meet to network and show their work to the public; by last year, it had grown to more than 800 cities. The Cincinnati version launched in October 2009, and this week’s event is a reboot of sort, since there hasn’t been one held since then.
 
“Pecha kucha” means “chit chat” in Japanese and is based on a presentation format showcasing 20 images in 20 seconds. This makes each presentation concise and keeps things moving.
 
“The key to a great presentation is to present something you love,” says Ryan Newman, organizer for PechaKucha in Cincinnati. “Most people use PechaKucha Night to present their latest creative projects or work. Some people share their passion and might show their prized collection of records, while others share photos of their latest visit to a construction site or their recent holiday snaps.”
 
There will be eight presenters on Jan. 14, starting at 8:20 p.m.:

• Joi Sears, Free People International, “Social Change xChange”
• Brian Monahan, Prestige AV & Creative Services, TBD
• Steve Stidham, MSP, “Waste=Capital”
• Darrin Scott Hunter, Dish Design, “You’re Probably a Font Whore (or Typographic Slut Shaming)”
• John Stoughton, TBD
• Lightborne Studios, TBD
• Ryan Newman, Kolar Design, “The Secure Illusion/Psychology of Security Design”

PechaKucha is open to the public and requires a $3 donation from attendees in order to cover the cost of the venue and set-up.
 
“Cincinnati has an amazing and dynamic group of people doing exciting things in all aspects of creativity, beyond traditional design,” Newman says. “My hope is that PechaKucha helps connect, inspire and showcase the diverse communities in Cincinnati.”
 
There will be three other events in 2016, with the next scheduled for mid-April. If you’re interested in presenting at the next PechaKucha Night, send an email to cincypk@gmail.com.
 
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