CCAC Next: Imagining a better future for the arts

After years of research, The Clifton Cultural Arts Center (CCAC) has finally found a new home.

By May of 2023, they hope to open on Ludlow in Clifton, which will have space for classes, art shows, and a “Messy Makerspace,” which Executive Director, Leslie R. Mooney, says is crucial.

“It’s really important to be hands-on and in person for a Messy Maker Marketspace,” she says.

The CCAC also felt that it was important to keep the arts alive during the pandemic. They did this by providing art kits, free Wednesday night Zoom concerts, and live music in Burnet Woods.

The new area will respect our current reality by extending to the outdoors through sliding garage windows that will allow the CCAC to expand out to their patio, which will also give people more space to spread out and get fresh air.

But there’s more to the story of CCAC’s expansion: They are hoping to continue bringing art to the community, and strive to keep their series free or at a low cost.

Since 2020, things have shut down in a major way. That has not stopped the CCAC’s mission, though. Their plan to expand in Clifton will include a continuation of both adult and children classes, with the added benefit of a “green rooftop” — something they didn’t plan on doing but was part of the original plan to be environmentally friendly.

Mooney explains that the CCAC had a set of principles for their next location, and two of those ideas had to do with outdoor space and environmental sustainability. The new location had neither, until they realized that a green rooftop would check off both of those boxes.

“It wasn’t part of our thinking,” says Mooney, referring to pre-pandemic times, “but now it’s becoming more important that Makeshop will have an operable garage door that will lead out to a patio out back so people can spread out and get fresh air.”

The new location will also offer room for a variety of art classes, as well as meeting space for anyone who wants to rent it out.

And the demand is high — the CCAC has a diverse roster of people who show up for classes and intergenerational entertainment, event during the pandemic. Their music garden classes start with three-month-old babies and, overall, they have reached five elementary schools in the Uptown neighborhoods of Cincinnati.

According to Mooney, it is a 50/50% in terms of race and age, but they are constantly striving to have something for everybody, which includes free to low-priced programming.

“We really just want to use the arts to get people together and build a community and sense of place,” she says.

The CCAC still needs donations to make their new property come alive. To donate, click here.
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Read more articles by Jessica Esemplare.

Jessica Esemplare is the managing editor of Soapbox Cincinnati and a graduate of Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. Shortly after completing her degree in magazine journalism, she began covering local and regional topics at The Cincinnati Herald and, later, as an editor at Ohio Magazine. Her writing has also been featured in U.S. News and World Report.