The enthusiasm for the new Fall season in the visual arts is very high.  We are seeing more creative exhibition venues, as well as our regular museums, galleries, non-profits, and even restaurants that display art.  Quite a few invitations have been arriving from artists having small shows on Sunday afternoons or Saturday evenings, when, we hope, people have more time and enthusiasm to go to openings, the main use of which seems to be running into friends and colleagues.  We are also witnessing the growth and development of several newish art districts; Woodburn Avenue in East Walnut Hills has been developing rapidly, much because of the energy and vision of Jason Franz at Manifest Gallery (when I first went to shows there, we were still concerned about the safety of the neighborhood, a concern that has vanished with new lighting, a new pocket park, and a plethora of small new shops and eateries).  Activity in Over the Rhine is moving northwest into what is known as The Brewery District, a heartening development, as it also abuts Findlay Market.  The new streetcar can do nothing but help development and movement in and through these areas.  Brighton is adjacent to The Brewery District, and, up Central Parkway, we find ourselves in a rapidly developing Northside, and slightly beyond there, a burgeoning scene in Camp Washington.  UC and Clifton are right above these areas, and should the streetcar continue up there, the flow of people between Uptown and Downtown will create a new synergies that are making Cincinnati a new city with new identities.  ArtWorks, under the brilliant and inspired leadership of Tamara Harkavy, is determined to make the downtown parts of what’s described here one phenomenal work of art: walk down virtually any street in OTR, and you will see excellent murals, artist designed bicycle racks and park benches, and an increasing number of venues where you can have a coffee outside.  The transformation is magnificent.

The Incline District in Price Hill is moving along quickly; the new live theatre broke ground in mid-September, and the renovated Covedale Theatre is now open for business.  Both an Opera Troupe and an art gallery are opening imminently.  Covington, under the visionary leadership of people like Natalie Bowers and Cate Becker (formerly Yellig) is beginning to boom as a visual arts center, and we see new activity in Newport, as well.  I expect to see new developments in a rejuvenated College Hill, soon, as well.  And as each neighborhood creates its art district, opportunities for regional artists increase.  The missing piece is still art collecting on a regular basis, and we can only hope that the creative energies giving us these new districts will also encourage people to consider collecting, which is a great passion, and helps our museums determine what to acquire.

The Taft Museum of Art will be showing some of the finest exhibitions in its history in this new art season.  Director Deborah Emont Scott and Chief Curator Dr. Lynne Ambrosini are bringing small but choice exhibitions all year, from 19th century landscape paintings, to classic/vintage French photographs, to portrait photographs by Edward Curtis of American Indians, which are magnificent.  We all look forward to welcoming Cameron Kitchen, the new Director of The Art Museum, and are intrigued by his passion for education and community outreach, and his belief that the museum can be seen as a social service agency, as well as an art museum.  The museum will exhibit some very choice shows, including a one woman retrospective of paintings by area artist Bukang Kim, and selections from their wide holdings of contemporary Japanese prints.  New Associate Curator of Photography Brian Sholis is brimming with ideas, many of which will be in play with FotoFocus; look for reproductions of photographs on selected billboards around town.  And The Contemporary Arts Center exudes new energy in its 75th anniversary year; Curator Steven Matijcio and Performance Art Curator Drew Klein are bringing art from all over the world, while including some of the best work by regional artists, in a season that looks challenging, exciting, and fresh, all under the ongoing leadership of Executive Director Raphaela Platow.  Both The Weston Gallery at The Aronoff Center and The Carnegie in Covington are set to challenge us with superb exhibitions of contemporary art, and 21C Hotel Curator Alice Gray Stites continues to offer phenomenal exhibitions here and in their other hotels.  Both Aaron Cowan at the UC/DAAP Galleries and David Knight at the NKU Gallery offer challenging and meaningful shows, and make the best possible use of university galleries in the area; Xavier University’s gallery, under the leadership of Kitty Uetz is becoming an important exhibition venue.

Cincinnati has grown up in the visual arts.

We hope that various methods will evolve which encourage collaborative thinking and programming between and amongst these venues and others, such as The Women’s Y downtown; The Kennedy Heights Art Center, The Manifest Gallery, and The Clifton Cultural Arts Center, all three of which are important as neighborhood/community arts venues and/or exhibition centers.  The commercial galleries do not release a whole season schedule, but we remind you of the variety and the quality of the work that they show, and much like the burgeoning art districts, the commercial galleries seem to have special niches of their own.

We hope that AEQAI will continue to review and reflect upon the art made and exhibited here, and that our readers will continue to support us as “the smart publication”, which is often said about AEQAI.  We are in the center of it all.

We are excited, intrigued, piqued by the new art season: look for reviews and profiles and other interpretive essays and the like in AEQAI, most importantly, try to support the visual arts in our region.  Our very aesthetic and educational spirits count on it.

–Daniel Brown

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