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Simple Space to offer pop-up and event space in OTR

Over-the-Rhine residents Levi and Heather Bethune are opening a pop-up and event space on the first-floor of their home. Simple Space, located at 16 E. 13th St., will be available for everything from a pop-up store to a party space.
“Simple Space will be kind of like an extension of our living room,” Bethune says. “One of the reasons my wife and I decided to move our family into an urban environment is so we can influence, affect and contribute to the heart of the city. We believe that we can have an impact through Simple Space, but also through our home. Every tenant that rents out the space will be considered a guest in our home, and hopefully a friend in our city.”
The 600-square-foot space is an empty shell, and will be undergoing renovations soon. The Bethunes hope to have their first tenants in before Christmas, and will open the building to reservations in March.
Over the last two years, Bethune has met many vendors and creators at events like the City Flea and Second Sunday on Main. He’s talked to several people who are interested in using the space, including Julie Otten from Shoppe Class, who could use Simple Space for craft speciality lessons; Nick Elbi from Zip Zoo Apparrel, who might do a T-shirt pop-up shop; and Blake Smith from the local start-up Cladwell, who has talked about using Simple Space for a custom fitting and personalized men’s shopping experience.
“Simple Space is a container, an empty box,” Bethune says. “It’s not about what I want to happen in there, it’s about what you want to happen in there.”
Simple Space is currently looking for investors to help with renovations and signage. You can donate to the Indiegogo campaign here.  

OTR's Cutthort Lofts designed to feel like home in an urban area

The Cutthort Lofts, located at 226 E. Clifton Ave. in Over-the-Rhine, are home to three one-bedroom townhouses. Work began on the development in December 2012, and the lofts are now available for pre-lease.
When Ben Gulley, owner of Ben Gulley Design, the designer and developer of The Cutthort Lofts, purchased the building, “cutthort” had been spray painted over the entryway door. He decided to name the project after a fictional character, Charles Cutthort, which he made up to contribute to the building’s history.  
The townhouses are priced at $1.40 per square foot, and range from 700 to 1,000 square feet.
“This is my third development in the OTR area,” Gulley says. “We purchased it as a shell, which made it an open palette for layout.”
Each space was designed to have flow and an open, spacious feel. The lofts feature reclaimed timber from the building, custom welded stair railings, carrara marble and natural stone baths, walk-in showers, real oak hardwood floors, butcher block countertops and exposed joists.
“The inspiration behind the project was to design spaces that I would love to call home and give others the same experience,” Gulley says. “The details make for a place you want to come home to.”
Gulley has lived in OTR since 1994, and loves the beautiful architecture and urban feel of the neighborhood. He is currently looking for his next project, and if it’s not in OTR, it will be in one of the nearby areas.

Design event to help homeowners with renovation ideas

Home renovators, there’s a new event designed just for you. On Nov. 1 and 2, the grand ballroom of Music Hall will host DesignBuildCincy, a trade show for homeowners and professionals who are planning a construction or design project.
The event will feature more than 125 architects, designers and remodelers, and will be the place to find local and regional handmade architectural fixtures and furniture.
Doug Hart, consultant and former owner of Hart Productions, wanted to create an event that featured custom made and luxury items, as well as artists, craftsmen and contractors who normally don’t do large trade shows.
“I felt it was necessary to do a show of this type at a unique venue in Over-the-Rhine to distinguish DesignBuild from other trade shows,” Hart says.
Many of the companies that will be at DesignBuild wanted to do the show because of its location. Hart hopes people will take advantage of the location and enjoy the beautiful architecture, as well as visit the shops and restaurants in the city’s urban core.
“My goal is to satisfy people who are looking for a large variety of unique vendors, while providing an immersive, urban experience that is typically not ‘built in’ on the front end of traditional home shows,” Hart says.
DesignBuildCincy will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. There will be three presentations each day, showcasing recent residential projects and a Q&A. On Saturday, Chris Kepes of Kepes Architecture will speak at 11 a.m., Kenneth Workman of RWA Architects at 1 p.m. and Rod Sidley of Rod Sidley Architects at 3 p.m. On Sunday, Sanyog Rathoud of OTR Foundation will speak at 11 a.m., Rick Koehler and Andy Schaub of Architects Plus at 1 p.m., and Don Beck of Beck Architecture at 3 p.m.
Admission for DesignBuild is $10, and kids under 13 are free.

ArtsWave grant recipient: Walnut Hills Redevelopment Foundation

ArtsWave recently awarded a total of $45,000 to five LISC Place Matters neighborhoods—Avondale, Covington, Madisonville, Price Hill and Walnut Hills. Each neighborhood received $9,000 in grant money, which will help bring ArtsWave-supported arts activities and organizations to each neighborhood. For five weeks, Soapbox is featuring the five neighborhoods and their plans for the grant money.
The Walnut Hills Redevelopment Foundation is using its portion of the grant money to add arts programming to the second annual Cincinnati Street Food Festival, the We Are Walnut Hills Springfest and various upcoming community events in Five Points Alley.
The Cincinnati Street Food Festival is from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sept. 27, on E. McMillan between Hemlock and Chatham. There will be 15 food trucks and local craft beer, as well as interactive art and live music.
Play Cincy is bringing along big chalk to draw on the sidewalks, and featured musicians include DJ Fly Troy and Friends, Black Mountain Throwdown, Eclipse, The Cincy Brass, Tracy Walker, the Randy Villars Quartet and 2nd Wind.
The food trucks that will be at the festival are: Andy’s Mediterranean Grille, Bistro de Mohr, C’est Cheese, Catch-a-Fire, Dojo Gelato, East Coast Eatz, Eclectic Comfort Food, Fireside Pizza, Red Sesame, Renegade Street Eats, Scratch House, Streetpops, SugarSnap!, The Chili Hut and Waffo. Beer will be provided by Great Lakes Brewing Company and Rhinegeist.
The We Are Walnut Hills Springfest will include performances by Core Clay and Drums for Peach. Programming at Five Points Alley will include the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, Elementz and Bi-Okoto.  

Keep tabs on WHRF's Facebook page for upcoming event information.

New development planned near Findlay Market

Model Group recently purchased 10 properties near and adjacent to Findlay Market for more than $1.5 million. The developer, who historically doesn’t purchase buildings, believes in the potential of the area.
“It may take a few years, but as a company, we wholly believe in the Findlay Market district as something that can’t be re-created anywhere else,” says Bobby Maly, chief operating officer for Model Group.
The first phase of the Race Street project will be a $14 million development. It will include 55,000 square feet of commercial space for retail and offices, as well as 15 apartments.
“As we have done with many of our Over-the-Rhine properties, including those on Vine Street and Broadway Square in Pendleton, we believe in restoring first-floor retail space so it brings back life to the street,” Maly says.
The retail spaces will complement the vendors in Findlay Market, and will be within walking distance to all neighborhood amenities.
“Our company’s mission is to positively transform communities, and we hope we can be part of the revitalization of the Findlay Market district and the northern half of OTR,” Maly says.

ArtsWave grant recipient: Center for Great Neighborhoods, Covington

ArtsWave recently awarded a total of $45,000 to five LISC Place Matters neighborhoods—Avondale, Covington, Madisonville, Price Hill and Walnut Hills. Each neighborhood received $9,000 in grant money, which will help bring ArtsWave-supported arts activities and organizations to each neighborhood. For five weeks, Soapbox is featuring the five neighborhoods and their plans for the grant money.
During the 10th anniversary of Art Off Pike on Sept. 28, the Center for Great Neighborhoods is also hosting ArtsWave Presents. The event will showcase a series of free live dance, opera, theater and hip-hop performances, as well as an interactive maker booth from Visionaries & Voices.
“ArtsWave Presents brings artforms together that people wouldn’t necessarily go to,” says Sarah Allan, manager of the Creative Placemaking Initiative at CGN. “We’re trying to make it so art isn’t this inaccessible thing. Creative stuff can happen anywhere in the community.”
Performances during ArtsWave Presents include the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company’s “Why Shakespeare,” which is a 45-minute comedic showcase of Shakespeare scenes and information by three professional actors; Bi-Okoto African Roots-Global Dance and Rhythms; Bach and Boombox; and an Elementz Dance performance by Studio Kre8v.
“ArtsWave Presents will give people who otherwise won’t engage with art or see art as a tool for revitalization the chance to do so,” says Clare Norwood, community development specialist for CGN.
Art Off Pike and ArtsWave Presents will be held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Madlot. New CoSign signs in Covington’s central business district will also be unveiled during the event.
Additional upcoming ArtsWave events include Pirates of Penzance, performed by the Cincinnati Opera on Oct. 4 in Linden Grove Cemetery; a winter concert with KYSO; a cooking class with Bi-Okoto in the spring; and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, performed by the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company in August.

West End corner store hosts first Do Right! farmers market

The Center for Closing the Health Gap recently partnered with 17 corner stores in the city to help increase the availability and sales of healthy, affordable foods in underserved communities. On Sept. 5, Jet-In Market, located at 1207 Linn St. in the West End, hosted a farmers market as part of the Do Right! Healthy Corner Stores campaign.
“There are farmers markets all over the county, but most are located in higher income areas,” says Renee Mahaffey Harris, executive director for The Center for Closing the Health Gap. “Not a lot of farmers markets are in vulnerable populations, which is why we decided to do a farmers market to add to what is already in the corner store.”
In order to increase the amount of produce offered at Jet-In Market, The Center for Closing the Health Gap worked with an African American farmer from Wilmington, Ohio, for the farmers market. His 25-acre farm provided fresh fruits and vegetables for sale, including okra, collard greens, tomatoes, corn, peppers, peaches, apples and pears, as well as a variety of homemade spices and seasoning blends.
“The farmers market is a great way to utilize a place that is in every neighborhood,” Mahaffey Harris says. “The store doesn’t have the healthiest produce now, but we’re working to teach the store owner and consumers how to sell and use produce. And hopefully, we’ll be able to make more shelf space for produce.”
The Center for Closing the Health Gap hopes to expand the Do Right! Healthy Corner Stores Farmers Market to at least three other neighborhoods in the near future. The next farmers market in the West End will be held Sept. 19 from 4 to 7 p.m.
At the next market, there will be a cooking demo, which will give people ideas of how to prepare produce they haven’t purchased before, Mahaffey Harris says.
The farmers market accepts WIC Fruit and Vegetable Vouchers, WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program Coupons and EBT.
Do Right! Healthy Corner Stores is modeled after the Food Trust in Philadelphia, and is funded in part by the Greater Cincinnati Foundation and Interact for Health.

CliftonFest unites artisans with community

This year’s annual CliftonFest will feature 41 artisan booths, 36 carpet artists, a variety of musicians and performers, and Ludlow Avenue businesses. Hosted by the Clifton community and Uptown Consortium, the free festival begins at 6 p.m. Sept. 26 and ends on 6 p.m. Sept. 28.
“When IGA closed, we lost a major magnet for people in the Clifton business district, and the business association felt something needed to happen to bolster the energy,” says Jan Brown Checco, president of CliftonFest.
CliftonFest, the rebirth of a sidewalk sale event from the ‘80s, is a way to remind the neighborhood of working artists in the community, and to help boost the businesses along the Ludlow Avenue corridor.
“The focus is really on relationships and getting people together,” Brown Checco says.
During CliftonFest, Ludlow is closed from Clifton Avenue to Middleton Avenue, and all businesses on the street level are open. Artists line the street selling their crafts, and professional street chalk artists work along the curb on both sides of the street to create ArtCarpets. There will also be a biergarten featuring craft beer from Rivertown.
“A special process is used for the ArtCarpets, which allows the artwork to stay for a minimum of three months,” Brown Checco says. “It creates a splash during the weekend of CliftonFest, but people can still come and see them for a few months afterward.”
Friday night’s events will occur with Ludlow’s normal traffic pattern. “Wine and Jazz” on Clifton Plaza will feature Wade Baker Collective from 6 to 11 p.m., and an artist’s reception for Scott Donaldson, who painted the new Clifton Plaza Mural, will take place from 6 to 9 p.m. at Om Eco Café, where over a dozen of his portraits will be on display.
On Saturday, children can enjoy musicians, puppeteers, circus magicians, CCM students, games, interactive crafts and refreshments at Diggs Plaza at Burnet Woods. There will also be a showing of Mary Poppins at the Esquire Theatre and “Story Hour on Clifton Plaza” at the library, both beginning at 10 a.m.
Sunday’s events will kick off with a 10 a.m. yoga session featuring Ron Esposito, and a 5K run in Burnet Woods. The Pet Parade will begin at 1 p.m., and the dedication of the new mural will be at 4 p.m.
Musicians throughout the weekend include Tracy Walker, Baoku Afrobeat, Mayan Ruins, Robin Lacey and DeZydeco, Pones Inc., Acarya, Cliftones, Part-time Gentlemen, Jump n’ Jive Swing Band, MUSE, Zumba, CCM Jazz Combo and Brooke Salem Krewe.

ArtsWave grant recipient: Madisonville Community Urban Redevelopment Corporation

ArtsWave recently awarded a total of $45,000 to five LISC Place Matters neighborhoods—Avondale, Covington, Madisonville, Price Hill and Walnut Hills. Each neighborhood received $9,000 in grant money, which will help bring ArtsWave-supported arts activities and organizations to each neighborhood. For five weeks, Soapbox is featuring the five neighborhoods and their plans for the grant money.
The Madisonville Community Urban Redevelopment Corporation plans to use the $9,000 for the Cincinnati Jazz and BBQ Festival. The festival will take place from 3 to 8 p.m. on Oct. 4 at the intersection of Madison and Whetsel.
“We picked two things that showcase the personality of the neighborhood,” says Matt Strauss, real estate and marketing manager for MCURC.
The corner of Madison and Whetsel is a city-owned property, and MCURC is working with the city to develop it into a place for the community. The festival will showcase the property, and show that big things are happening in Madisonville, Strauss says.
The festival will feature Eugene Goss and Triage, and Mike Wade and the Mighty Groovers. BBQ from Madisonville resident Ron D and JustQ’in will be available for purchase, as well as beer from MadTree Brewing.
There will also be events for kids and a number of artisans from the neighborhood selling their wares.
Madisonville has been quiet for the last few years, but we’re getting ready to jump off with lots of new buildings and businesses,” Strauss says. “This has always been a thriving, diverse community, and we want to show it off.”
If you can’t make it to the festival, Madisonville is hosting its second 5K at 8:30 a.m. on Sept. 27. Register online, and check for updated race information on Facebook.  

Traditional German clothing store opens in Christian Moerlein Brewery

The official supplier of lederhosen for Munich Oktoberfest, Wiesnkoenig, opened its first store in the United States on Aug. 20. The store is located in a 535-square-foot space inside Christian Moerlein Brewery in Over-the-Rhine.
Founded in 2007, Wiesnkoenig has five stores in Germany, and sells its clothing in department stores there and in Switzerland and Austria.
“It seemed right for Cincinnati as the sister city of Munich to have a Wiesnkoenig,” says Oliver Pfund, consultant for Wiesnkoenig. “With its over 100-year-old beer brewing history and great German heritage, it made sense to have a store where people can buy original German clothing that transports it to the next level and turns it into a lifestyle product.”
Wiesnkoenig offers traditional German clothing like lederhosen and dirndl, but lifestyle-oriented pieces like T-shirts, shirts, cardigans and vests are also available.
“We hope to combine tradition with everyday fashion to show people in the U.S. that traditional German clothing is fun to wear,” Pfund says. “You can do all kinds of crazy combinations like wearing lederhosen with Chuck Taylors and a stars and stripes tee.”
Wiesnkoenig is open Wednesday-Friday from 4 to 9 p.m., Saturday from noon to 9 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m.

Tri*Metro campaign providing entertainment buses Sept. 13

This fall, Metro is launching the tri*Metro campaign, which will encourage young professionals to incorporate Metro into their lives. The three-pronged campaign focuses on learning about Metro, experiencing Metro and challenging riders to go car-free during the month of October.
Cincy YP and Give Back Cincinnati wanted to form a partnership with Metro to better educate others about riding the bus. They didn’t want to go to more meetings, but instead created a video about riding Metro, which shows riders how 20- and 30-somethings use the bus.
As part of the campaign, Metro is providing three entertainment buses for riders on Sept. 13. The bus will circulate to hotspots in Hyde Park, Mt. Lookout, Oakley, O'Bryonville and Over-the-Rhine. The bus will run from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m., and will stop at designated bars and restaurants.
“Riders can get on and off the bus all night long, and will give everyone the opportunity to experiment with the buses,” says Kim Lahman, ridership development manager for Metro.
A specific route will be drawn up for the night that will circle the neighborhoods involved in the event, and there will be a bus schedule specifically designed to fit the route.
Volunteers from Cincy YP will be at each of the designated bus stops to help riders figure out where they’re going and how long they will have to stand and wait. Riders will also receive special discounts at participating bars and restaurants.
Venues include Cock & Bull Public House and Unwind Wine Bar in Hyde Park; Mt. Lookout Tavern and Millions Cafe in Mt. Lookout; Animations and The Oak Tavern in Oakley; O’Bryon's Bar & Grill and Uncorked in O’Bryonville; and The Drinkery and MOTR in OTR.
“It will be great for ridership, as well as for economic development because we’re supporting businesses along the way, and helping get people familiar with the Metro system,” Lahman says.
If you’re interested in riding Metro’s entertainment buses on Sept. 13, tickets are $5. For more information, visit Metro’s website.

Empanadas Aqui brings Hispanic food to Cincinnati streets

After tossing around the idea of a food truck at a family gathering, husband-and-wife team Brett and Dadni Johnson and Brett’s aunt, Pat Fettig, joined Bad Girl Ventures. They won the competition, and started serving up empanadas on their food truck, Empanadas Aqui, in June.
“We decided on empanadas because we wanted to bring them to Cincinnati,” Fettig says.
Dadni, who is from Caracas, comes up with the recipes; Brett worked for Dewey’s Pizza for two years, and was on the management track. And although Fettig doesn’t have a culinary background, she says she's the one who cooks for family events.
Empanadas Aqui’s rotating menu features a few staples, including the signature Bad Girl, which is shredded chicken, sautéed onions, peppers, cheese and a house blend of seasoning; and the Popeye, which has spinach inside. Dessert options include the Emporeo, which has crushed Oreos and cream cheese topped with a sweet glaze, and a guava and cream cheese filled empanada.
Empanadas Aqui will be at the City Flea this month and next, as well as the Midwest Food Truck Show and the Hispanic Festival at the Hamilton County Fairgrounds. Next year, they want to be at LumenoCity and the Taste of Cincinnati.
The truck is also available for private parties, with a wider offering of food items.
“We hope to bring something different to the city,” Fettig says. “There are almost 10,000 Hispanics in the area, and we’re bringing a familiar food to them, as well as introducing other people to something new.”
Follow Empanadas Aqui on Facebook and Twitter @empanadasaqui.

Neighborhood bar and bottle shop serving this September in OTR

Garth Lieb, Jeremy Moore and Tom Stephen are no strangers to the Over-the-Rhine bar scene. Not only do they frequent them, but they’ve worked at a handful as well. And this September, the trio will be opening a bar of their own, Liberty’s Bar & Bottle.
The 1,000-square-foot space, which was formerly a condo, will feature 20 rotating taps, wine by the glass, and beer and a selection of wine to-go. Liberty’s will focus more on European craft beer and wine than local offerings, but you can be sure there will be a few of those as well.
“The American craft beer movement has pushed everyone around the world to experiment with different types of hops, fruits and barreling processes,” Stephen says. “It’s really pushed Europe to keep up and play around with the fun stuff.”
The bar’s wine program will be made up of Old World wines, but there will be a few from California and Oregon as well. There will also be a small liquor selection with a very small list of well-picked bourbons and scotches, and a vodka, gin and tequila option.
Meat and cheese plates will be available as well for light bites, featuring goods from local purveyors.
Liberty’s copper topped, walnut bar is original to the building. Eighteen bar stools, a few drink rails and a beer hall-style table will round out the seating. Eight French doors open onto the sidewalk, which Stephen says will make it feel like you’re outside.
When Liberty’s opens, there will be a few special beers that lots of people probably haven’t had on draft in Ohio. After unveiling the taps, Stephen says they’ll unveil a 20-foot tall mural painted by local artist Alex Scherra.
“We want Liberty’s to be a neighborhood bar, and with that, we want to feature local art,” Stephen says.
Scherra will also be creating pieces of art for the bar’s chalkboards that were salvaged from a 1902 schoolhouse in Connecticut. The artwork will change over time, and will feature hops and wine regions from around the world.

ArtsWave grant recipient: Avondale Comprehensive Development Corporation

ArtsWave recently awarded a total of $45,000 to five LISC Place Matters neighborhoods—Avondale, Covington, Madisonville, Price Hill and Walnut Hills. Each neighborhood received $9,000 in grant money, which will help bring ArtsWave-supported arts activities and organizations to each neighborhood. For the next five weeks, Soapbox will feature the five neighborhoods and their plans for the grant money.
The Avondale Comprehensive Development Corporation is planning to use the ArtsWave grant money to address reducing violence in the community, cultural development and healthy eating through the arts. The grant money will also support the marketing efforts for the various events.
ACDC plans to host several art-related activities throughout the rest of 2014 and into 2015, including the Kin Killin’ Kin art series, which is a series of 13 photographs that feature black-on-black crime created by Cincinnati native James Pate.
“This series brings awareness and education to a real issue in the community”, says Latoya Alexander, senior community engagement specialist at ACDC.
Other events include the Cincinnati Black Theatre Company’s “Namibia Cultural Awareness;” E Sin Mi d’Afrika, presented by Bi-Okoto, which features African culture, language, geography and history through authentic songs and folk stories, as well as drumming and dances; traveling storytellers; workshop and acting classes through Playhouse in the Park; and Bach and the Boombox, which links classical and popular music. 
The only finalized event is Bach in the Boombox, which will perform at the last Increase the Peace Gospel Series from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Sept. 14 at Lincoln Park. The faith-based event gives residents, community supporters and local churches a chance to rejoice, pray and connect with one another.
“We wanted to weave the arts and community awareness together, so many of the performances will be happening in conjunction with a larger event,” Alexander says.

PAR Projects building new community space in Northside

PAR Projects recently purchased the parcel of land at 1622 Hoffner St. in Northside. Plans are currently underway to create an art and education center for the community.
The future home of PAR Projects is being constructed out of repurposed shipping containers, two of which you may have seen around Northside. All of the programming will be geared toward practical arts training, including teaching the elements of graphic design and video editing.
“Lots of different places offer painting and drawing classes, but there aren’t a lot that offer access to digital media and things that are valuable in creative workplaces,” says Jonathan Sears, executive director of PAR Projects.
The building will have three floors of usable space, or about 2,000 square feet. The first phase of the building will be five shipping containers joined together, with others stacked on top to form different floors.
The first step won’t actually be building, but rather creating a community space in the form of an open, outdoor movie theater. It will feature community screenings every two weeks or so; and the theater will actually be two containers stacked on top of each other near the front of the future building.
“We want to give the neighborhood a little more hope,” Sears says. “We plan to reach out to at-risk youth and provide more direction for them, as well as educate older people who need new skill sets.”
PAR Projects is partnering with the Apple Street Market Co-op initiative to host Northside Rising, a 50/50 fundraiser to benefit access to food and the arts. The event is Aug. 30, and will feature food, music and family activities.
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