ArtWorks is movin’ on up

ArtWorks, Cincinnati’s mural maker, is moving up. Up the hill, that is.

The nonprofit, which employs youth apprentices and professional artists to create public art, says it will move its headquarters from Over-the-Rhine to Walnut Hills in April to a rehabbed first floor space that is being called Paramount Square II.

It will be across the street from Paramount Square, the Art Deco landmark in Walnut Hills that was abandoned for years and now contains a brewery, retail and office space, as well as residences.

“We’re overjoyed to move to such a prime location and important historical center of our city,” says Colleen Houston, ArtWorks’ CEO and artistic director.

The location will be 2450 Gilbert Ave., in a 4,318-square-foot space that combines two storefronts.

ArtWorks is moving from its current location in Over-the-Rhine’s Hale Justis building, where it was located for 11 years. The organization says it will keep its artist studio space at the Carl Solway Gallery in the West End.

In 2020, ArtWorks employed 123 youth apprentices and hired 68 artists, and the organization has a team of 13 staff members.

Houston says she was inspired to relocate to the neighborhood after attending the October ribbon cutting for the Cincinnati Art Museum’s Art Climb, a newly built series of steps and public works that lead from Gilbert Avenue to the hilltop museum.

The neighborhood will also eventually be home to the Cincinnati Ballet, which is building a new performing and administrative space there.

“We are looking forward to joining two of the most incredible arts entities in the city with our move to Gilbert Avenue,” Houston says.

Longtime resident Kathryne Gardette, president of the Walnut Hills Area Council, says ArtWorks’ presence will “expand the complement of arts and cultural opportunities for our residents and businesses.”

ArtWorks has been creating public art murals and installations in Walnut Hills for years.

Its summer program operated under tents in Eden Park from 1998 to 2000. ArtWorks’ youth apprentices completed the park’s Mirror Lake fresco, which features fossils of sea life from the Ohio River, in 1998.

Other ArtWorks projects in Walnut Hills include the mosaic on the Eden Park bus shelter, Elaine Lynch’s Dottin’ the Hill mural at 2901 Gilbert, Morag Myerscough’s #5: We Are Walnut Hills mural at 2429 Gilbert, and Brandon Hawkins’ mural at Frederick Douglass Elementary School.

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David Holthaus is an award-winning journalist and a Cincinnati native. When not writing or editing, he's likely to be bicycling, hiking, reading, or watching classic movies.