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Noble Denim founders open Victor Athletics storefront, partner for Brush Factory launch

Noble Denim clothing has been sold online and exclusively at Article in Over-the-Rhine since 2012, but on Nov. 21 its founders will open a nearby storefront for their denim as well as for their new brand, Victor Athletics. This next step was made possible due to a Kickstarter campaign that launched in the spring and raised over $120,000.
Like Noble, Victor will offer American-made, organic clothing — specifically athletic-based items like sweatshirts, jogger pants and T-shirts. The Noble team focuses on organic clothing because, just like food, cotton is grown using a number of pesticides that can damage clothing in the long run.
Although the average consumer’s buying habits haven’t changed as much when it comes to purchasing organic clothing, Noble and Victor hope to shine a light on the benefits of organic clothing. They’re interested in sourcing cotton that lessens the impact on workers and is grown without pesticides and other chemicals.
Noble and Victor are also committed to American-made products.
“Victor really came to be because our factory in Tennessee wanted more work and wanted to grow their workforce and Noble Denim customers were looking for items at a lower price point than our jeans,” says co-founder Abby Sutton, who started Noble with her husband, Chris.
The 987-square-foot Victor Athletics Club is on the ground floor of Beasley Place, a mixed-income apartment project at Republic and 14th Streets developed by Over-the-Rhine Community Housing. The majority of Victor’s clothing is under $100, including a crewneck sweatshirt for $30 and a hoodie for $70. The storefront will also have a sewing area where workers will make totes in-store from American-made canvas.
Although Noble and Victor will both be available at the new store, the team’s primary goal is to grow Victor online.
“Our generation goes online first,” Sutton says. “But that in-person experience is so important, especially for a brand that wants to grow online.”

Noble/Victor is partnering with another successful startup, Brush Factory, to sell that company’s first collection of solid hardwood furniture, BFF. A soft launch of the furniture line is scheduled for 4-10 p.m. on Black Friday (Nov. 27) at Victor Athletics Club.

Brush Factory won the 2015 ArtWorks Big Pitch competition in August, while Noble Denim won the same competition in 2014.
Once open, Victor Athletics Club hours will be 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday.

Cincinnati Shakespeare Company sets the stage for new OTR theater

The Cincinnati Shakespeare Company has started a $17 million capital campaign to construct a new theater/rehearsal/office complex at the site of the former Drop Inn Center at 12th and Elm Streets in Over-the-Rhine, increasing programming from 272 days and nights per year to 360 days and nights per year. CSC has been renting theater and office space at 719 Race St.
The theater — which is being named for Otto M. Budig, a longtime CSC patron — will add one more piece to OTR’s arts corridor around Washington Park, joining Music Hall, Memorial Hall and the School for the Creative and Performing Arts.

A large portion of the necessary capital funds were raised during the private portion of the campaign, with only about $4 million still needed to move the project forward.

Plans for the 27,855-square-foot-theater have been about two years in the making and include adding about 100 seats, increasing current capacity from 150 to 244. The thrust stage will jut out into the audience, and the aisles between seats will allow actors to move among the audience during shows. A balcony is planned, but no seat will be further than 20 feet from the stage.
On the outside, the building will resemble the National Theater in London with glass walls facing the street, allowing passersby a look inside. The actors’ rehearsal space will also serve as a second theater for smaller performances or special events.
The inside will be modeled after the Globe Theater, which was designed by Shakespeare himself. Indoor lighting will mimic starlight, and there will be 38 steps connecting the two floors to represent each of the Bard’s plays.
The theater ceiling will be tall enough to allow for multi-level seats and scenery. Currently, sets are constructed outside of the Race Street theater, disassembled and reassembled once they’re inside. There will be an on-site scene shop in the historic Teamsters building that adjoins the Drop Inn site, and the theater will include an actual backstage area, trap space under the stage and wing space with lighting as well as a classroom for educational programming.

For patrons, the Otto M. Budig Theatre will feature a more spacious lobby than CSC’s current location, additional restrooms, a separate box office and a bar. All patron amenities will be in full ADA compliance.
Three buildings stand at the site of the Drop Inn Center, which will be demolished at the beginning of the year to make way for Cincinnati Shakespeare’s new home. Construction is projected to begin in April, and the troupe should be able to take possession in July 2017, just in time for the start of its 24th season.

ArtWorks hosts Ink Your Love fundraiser to close year-long celebration

ArtWorks is hosting a fundraiser Nov. 20 for the Ink Your Love campaign, the year-long celebration of why Cincinnatians love Cincinnati. Part of the project was penning a poem, “Seven Hills and a Queen to Name Them,” and tattooing it on 263 people.
The poem was written by Chase Public from more than 1,000 submissions from residents who answered the question: “Why do you love Cincinnati?” It was then broken into 263 words and phrases, and project artists Kurt Gohde and Kremena Todorova designed tattoos that were then inked by One Shot Tattoo.
The poem also inspired 54 larger-than-life murals and mini art installations around the city. This part of the project was launched just in time for the MLB All-Star Game in July; installations can be found on buildings, skyways, bars and restaurants around town.
The Nov. 20 event is being held at the Renaissance Hotel downtown and will feature a custom cocktail by Molly Wellmann as well as dishes from a number of Cincinnati chefs and music from the March Madness Marching Band and Fresh Funk. It will also be the first time that the full Cincinnati Tattoo Project video is shown.
Fundraiser attendees will be able to take a one-of-a-kind piece of art home with them. A group of Cincinnati graphic design artists created 36 different prints inspired by the poem, and local artist Pam Kravetz teamed up with Rookwood Pottery to create six plate designs featuring a line from the CincyInk poem.  
Tickets start at $150 and are available here.  
Ink Your Love was made possible through the work of 75 artists and creative partners from ArtWorks, eight ArtWorks youth apprentices and 45 community partners and sponsors.

Duke Energy Holiday Trains return to Cincinnati for 70th year

Now in its 70th year, the Holiday Junction exhibit featuring the Duke Energy Holiday Trains just opened at the Cincinnati Museum Center with working model trains on display throughout the holiday season. 
The exhibit has been a Cincinnati staple since 1946. It’s one of the largest portable models in the world and features authentic “O” gauge trains, which means that a quarter inch of the model is equivalent to one foot on a real train. All of the rail cars, tracks and buildings are 1/48 actual size, and while on display the trains will travel more than 100,000 scale miles.
A few changes have been made to Holiday Junction this year, including adding a raised platform around the exhibit so everyone can view the trains. There is also more family-friendly programming than ever before.
Members of the Ohio Kentucky Indiana LEGO Users Group have built a 12-by-24-Ft. LEGO train and landscape, which includes Cincinnati landmarks and 100 mini figures with characters like Spiderman, Batman, Ghostbusters and the Scooby-Doo gang.
Also new this year is a rare Carlisle & Finch Company train set that dates to 1904. The model includes the train and the trolley as well as overhead wires. Carlisle & Finch was headquartered in Cincinnati and invented the first electric toy train in 1896 — it featured metal cars and a train that ran on metal rails set two inches apart. At the start of WWI, the company was ordered to stop toy train production and focus on making searchlights for the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard, and although Carlisle & Finch never returned to building toy trains its legacy lives on.
Returning this year is Pogie and Patter Super Spectacular Holiday Fun Hour, a train ride, the observation deck that overlooks the trains and an expanded gift shop with trains and other toys. Santa will arrive just in time to light the Union Terminal Christmas Tree at 11 a.m. on Nov. 27.
Rocky Mountain Express is showing at the OMNIMAX Theater, celebrating the age of the steam engine and construction of the railroad through the Canadian Rockies.
Admission to Holiday Junction is included in the All Museums Pass ($14.50 for adults, $10.50 for children) or to the Cincinnati History Museum ($10.50 for adults, $8.50 for children). Duke Energy customers can go online and print off a special code for free admission to the Holiday Junction.
Holiday Junction is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday, with some extended Saturday hours. Museum Center is closed Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day but is open New Year’s Day. The display continues through Jan. 3.
Check out the Cincinnati Museum Center’s website for a list of other holiday-themed events. There’s sure to be something for everyone!

Price Hill Will introduces film festival to start conversations on social justice

Price Hill will showcase a number of regional and national films Nov. 21 at the inaugural Warsaw Ave. Film Festival. The free event will feature a selection of documentaries on social justice as well as films made in or about Price Hill.
Kevin Burke, professor of electronic media at UC’s College-Conservatory of Music, and Dr. Lisa Wagner Crews, assistant professor of communication and new media studies at Mount St. Joseph University, will kick off the evening at 5 p.m. with a discussion about films and social justice.
Film screenings will begin at 6 p.m., with showings on both the first and second floors of the historic Warsaw Firehouse, 3120 Warsaw Ave.
The film lineup includes 16 shorts and webisodes, as well as two 45-minute films and three feature-length films from Dayton, L.A., Montreal, San Diego and Austin, Tex.:

Roots in Concrete sheds light on the unspoken lives of African-American women killed by senseless violence due to society’s misconception; created by Allison A. Waite, winner of the 2015 Princess Grace HBO Film Award

• Young Urban Perspectives depicts the civil unrest that occurred in Cincinnati, spearheaded by the murder of Timothy Thomas in 2001; created by Lamonte Young and the Teen Arts Council, winner of the 2002 Blue Chip Award for Best Documentary

Stop the Violence explores causes and effects of recent violence in Cincinnati; directed by Ken Powell and Adam Steele

Business As (un)Usual highlights the challenges that people with developmental disabilities face; created by Katie Bachmeyer and the Starfire Council

Women Who Yell offers women’s responses to the negative representation of women in the media; created by Megan Hague

Tap & Screw Brewery will provide beer and light appetizers, and the Guatemalan Chefs Collective will serve homemade tamales.
The festival will also serve as the debut of Price Hill Will’s Story Share project, which will feature films by young videographers from Cincinnati mentored by PHW’s Young. Movies focus on the life stories of Price Hill residents and business owners and City of Cincinnati leaders.

"Price Hill Story Share is a two-year project that was created with the intent to engage more residents and show the diversity of the community and to capture their personal experiences, visions for the future and the sharing of diverse cultures to become better inclusive as a community through media and storytelling," Young says. 

The project consists of two components, Community Storytelling and Block Swap, which involved capturing residents on video with the purpose of having public screenings of the finished works. Young assisted with place-based moments and activities surrounding Block Swap, a community clean-up with residents from Lower, East and West Price Hill picking up trash on the streets and vacant lots of each neighborhood.

New Riff to host festival celebrating Kentucky beer and spirits

The first Holler Festival will be held at New Riff Distillery Nov. 7 to feature craft breweries and distilleries that call the state of Kentucky home. Hosted by Ei8ht Ball Brewing and New Riff, the event not only celebrates Kentucky-made products but also demonstrates what it means to be a Kentucky brewery or distillery.
Kentucky bourbon is celebrated around the world for its flavor, say event organizers, due to the region's water, grains, air and people.
Featured breweries will include Against the Grain, Alltech Lexington Brewing & Distilling Company, Blue Stallion Brewing, Braxton Brewing, Country Boy Brewing, Ei8ht Ball, Good Wood Beer, Monnik Beer Co., Rooster Brewing and West Sixth Brewing. Distilleries will include Barrel House Distilling, Copper & Kings American Brandy, Corsair Distillery, The Gentleman Distillery, Limestone Branch Distillery, MB Roland Distillery, New Riff, Old Pogue Distillery, Second Sight Spirits, Wilderness Trail Distillery and Willett Distillery.
New Riff opened adjacent to The Party Source in 2014 and is part of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour. Many Holler organizers are members of the Kentucky Distillers' Association and the Kentucky Guild of Brewers — both groups work to support, enhance and grow the craft communities of spirits and beer in Kentucky.
Tickets are $50, which includes beer and spirits samples, appetizers and a special edition glass. The festival is for ages 21 and up; you can pre-order tickets here.
All Holler Festival proceeds will benefit Renaissance Covington.

DesignBuildCincy event expands, makes improvements for second year

In its second year, DesignBuildCincy has made some changes to add to the event’s overall experience. The biggest change is that the design showcase will now be held over three days instead of just two, which gives more people a chance to come see what it’s all about, says organizer Doug Hart.
“We still want the show to be manageable for vendors, but we also want to give people a chance to step outside of the event and really enjoy Over-the-Rhine, which has some beautiful architecture and design elements itself,” he says.
DesignBuild will be held at Music Hall over Halloween weekend. Music Hall’s ballroom is a more intimate venue when compared to large convention centers where trade shows are traditionally held.
“The most important aspect is the content of the show and how diverse it is,” Hart says. “It’s very rare to see a show in this small of a space with so many vendors.”
There will be about 130 vendors this year, with 25 percent of them new to the event as well as more than a dozen companies that call OTR and downtown home, showcasing everything from masonry and metalwork to cabinetry and restoration. But DesignBuild isn’t just about Cincinnati — there are also companies from Dayton and central Ohio.
DesignBuild helps to showcase the rebirth happening in OTR, and Music Hall is right in the middle of it. More and more companies are coming to the neighborhood because they want to be part of that rebirth, so those working on restoration projects no longer have to look to cities like Chicago and New York for talent because it’s already here.
There also won’t be featured speakers this year, but instead two exhibits from the show’s sponsors, Rookwood Pottery and Keidel Supply. Hart says he hopes to add to the experience of DesignBuild in the future with pop-up presentations and talks at other locations throughout the neighborhood.
“For those who are interested in architecture and design, all you have to do is take a walk around the neighborhood,” he says. “It will provide as much content and enjoyment as any presentation.”
DesignBuild will be held 5-8 p.m. Oct. 30 and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 31 and Nov. 1. Tickets are $8 for everyone 13 & up and are available online.

20 years ago, the Aronoff Center helped launch downtown's revitalization

This month marks the Aronoff Center for the Arts’ 20th anniversary, with the celebration continuing throughout the year.

Festivities began on Oct. 10 with Center Stage at the Aronoff, a progressive party for the facility’s many donors and benefactors, and a follow-up party was held Oct. 11 for the Aronoff’s 800-plus volunteers. But an anniversary isn’t all they’re celebrating.
About 20 years ago, the area north of Fountain Square now known as the Backstage District was in severe decline — rents were falling, businesses were leaving and vacancies were rising. Fortunately, city leaders saw the need to revitalize the area, and one of the elements that spearheaded those efforts was creating a modern arts center, says David Ginsburg, CEO of Downtown Cincinnati Inc. (DCI).
At that time, the State of Ohio was interested in building a performing arts center in Columbus — the Ohio Center for the Arts — but State Sen. Stan Aronoff made an aggressive effort to move the project to downtown Cincinnati. His plan won out, and the building was named the Aronoff Center for the Arts in his honor.
The Aronoff has helped bring together a diverse community during its 20 years, which is what the arts are all about. It became an anchor in the central business district and a magnet for attracting other developments.

Catalyst for development

Before construction of the Aronoff Center was completed, Saks Fifth Avenue considered leaving downtown. But when company officials visited Cincinnati and saw what the new arts center would be like and what it could do for downtown, they decided to keep the store where it was because their customers were also arts patrons.   
At about the same time, DCI was trying to attract new businesses to downtown. Even though Fountain Square wouldn’t look like it does now until 2005, Rock Bottom Brewery became the first anchor there, which eventually helped bring in other businesses and restaurants such as Graeter’s, Via Vite and Nada.
“We believe in Cincinnati and downtown and wanted to be a part of building confidence in the central business district and building Cincinnati’s reputation as a dining destination,” says David Falk, president of Boca Restaurant Group, which operates Nada within the Aronoff footprint and Boca and Sotto around the corner. “When we opened Nada in 2007, the downtown of today was just a dream.”

The Aronoff and the arts

Apart from New York City, the Aronoff Center is home to one of the largest Broadway Series in the country, with a subscriber base of about 16,000. It’s the current home of Cincinnati Ballet, which plans to move to Music Hall when renovations are finished there in order to be closer to the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. It’s also home to several other resident companies: Cincinnati Music Theatre, Cincinnati Playwrights Initiative, Contemporary Dance Theater, Exhale Dance Tribe and Mamluft&Co. Dance.
“Why we’re here and what we do is to entertain and inspire creativity and imagination,” says Todd Duesing, director of operations for Cincinnati Arts Association, which manages the Aronoff Center and Music Hall. “Our goal is so much more than economic development, but so many other things have happened in this area because of it.”
In 2008, CAA assisted the Cincinnati USA Convention and Visitors Bureau in making a bid for Cincinnati to host the World Choir Games, an international choral competition that’s been held in cities all over the world. Cincinnati won the bid and hosted the Games in 2012, including performances at the Aronoff Center and Music Hall.
“We welcomed the world to the stages here in Cincinnati and became a pinnacle for the arts in the city,” Duesing says. “We beat out countries from all over the world to showcase our city’s strongest assets and became representatives of what Cincinnati does best.”
That type of collaboration is unheard of in most cities, but it’s something that Cincinnati and the Aronoff Center can be proud of.

Downtown as a whole

The Aronoff Center isn’t a single destination attraction, Ginsburg says. There isn’t parking adjacent to the building or a hotel or in-house restaurant. And the facility was planned that way.
Back in the 1990s city and civic leaders wanted to improve the walkability of downtown, so streetscapes were improved and new lighting was added to make the area around Sixth and Walnut streets more inviting. If you pay attention as you walk into the Aronoff Center, the brick pattern that acts as a red carpet into the building continues inside — the building’s architect intentionally added this design to draw people in from the street.
The idea was to build the Aronoff Center and then augment it with private sector businesses to complement it. As a result, a vibrant entertainment district has emerged, with the arts center at its center.
Part of the Backstage District’s appeal is that its overall patron experience builds on that collaborative environment. You can grab a drink and an appetizer at Nada, catch a show at the Aronoff Center, then head to Nicholson’s for a late dinner or to the rooftop of 21c Museum Hotel for a nightcap. Out-of-towners staying at the 21c might not be in Cincinnati for the arts, but the odds of them taking in a show at the Aronoff or checking out the Contemporary Arts Center while here are pretty high.
“The building of the Aronoff really brought a renaissance to this area,” says Van Ackerman, director of marketing and public relations for CAA. “The example of building the Aronoff and the redevelopment that has happened since became a model for other neighborhoods, including Over-the-Rhine.”
Want to help the Aronoff celebrate its birthday? Keep tabs on its website for upcoming events and offers.

Parklets coming to Covington's downtown and MainStrasse

A new People’s Liberty project called Curb’d will set up shop in Covington’s central business district and MainStrasse next spring to turn ordinary parking spaces into miniature parks, or parklets. It’s a concept People’s Liberty tried this summer as a temporary project outside its Over-the-Rhine headquarters.
Cincinnati is no stranger to parklets. The first was installed outside of Tucker’s restaurant in Over-the-Rhine in 2012, and a number of them were built along Pleasant Street as part of the pedestrian walkway proposed by UC’s MetroLab. Park + Vine also had a parklet installed last year.
Parklets can host any activity from extended seating for restaurants to a swing set or a small movie theater.
Curb’d will soon begin accepting applications from Covington businesses that are interested in turning one of their curb-side parking spaces into a parklet. If a business is chosen to receive a parklet, People’s Liberty would match it with an organization that would install it.
People’s Liberty will fund five parklets in Covington, including reimbursements to the city for lost parking meter revenue. Each parklet will cost between $5,000 and $10,000 and be active from May to October 2016.
Covington was also recently chosen as one of 10 semifinalists for the 2016 Great American Main Street Award. The award is given by the National Main Street Center, whose next step is trimming the number down to five. If Covington makes it to the final round, representatives from the National Main Street Center will come here to shoot a video that will depict why Covington deserves to win. The winner will be announced at the organization’s national conference next year in Milwaukee.

Jazz, BBQ and a little running too in Madisonville

Madisonville is hosting the second annual Cincinnati Jazz & BBQ Festival on Saturday, Sept. 12, a year after a $9,000 ArtsWave grant to the Madisonville Community Urban Redevelopment Corporation helped create the free event. Like last year, the festival will be held at the corner of Madison and Whetsel avenues, on a piece of city-owned property that serves as a community space for Madisonville.
Mike Wade and the Mighty Groovers and Triage featuring Eugene Goss will provide the jazz music, and Ron D’s BBQ, Just Q’in and Sweets and Meats BBQ will provide the food. There will be other vendors as well, including MadTree Brewing, Lala’s Blissfull Bites and Snowie Shaved Ice. The event runs 3-8 p.m.
There will also be a number of kids activities and neighborhood artisans showcasing their wares.
The festival is preceded by the third annual Madisonville 5K Run/Walk, which starts at 8:30 a.m., followed by the kids fun run at 9:30 a.m. The race starts at the Madisonville Recreation Center, 5320 Stewart Road, and takes runners on a course through neighborhood streets before finishing back at the rec center.
Pre-registration for the run is $15 for adults, $10 for students. Day-of registration is $20.
Partners for the day’s events include Medpace, Interact for Health and LISC as well as a number of other community organizations.

Over-the-Rhine continues to boom with new businesses

A number of new businesses have opened in Over-the-Rhine over the past few months, especially in the Findlay Market area north of Liberty Street as residential developments continue to crop up. We’ve rounded up a few of the neighborhood's newest and provide the low-down on what you’ll find.

Dirt: A Modern Market at Findlay Market, 131 W. Elder St.
Hours: 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday

Dirt brings a year-round marketplace to Cincinnati that will help connect consumers with local producers. The full-time retail store sells only locally produced fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses and dairy products along with a number of other goods.
Dirt also functions as a consignment store where growers and producers can rent space on a weekly or monthly basis. They keep 70 to 80 percent of their gross sales, construct individual displays and set their own prices. It gives producers the opportunity to continue selling their goods even when they aren’t physically at Findlay Market.

OTR Candy Bar, 1735 Elm St.
Hours: 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday

Co-owner Mike Petzelf’s brother purchased the building on Elm Street, and then the family came up with the idea for a candy store. After renovations and build-out, they opened the doors in April.  
OTR Candy Bar offers a large variety of bulk candies, which are locally and nationally sourced, as well as more than 50 soda flavors. Customers can mix their own 4-pack to take home or enjoy one while they’re strolling through Findlay Market.

3 Sweet Girls Cakery, 29 E. 12th St., Over-the-Rhine
Hours: 10:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday

This Kenwood-based bakery opened its second location in OTR just in time for the All Star Game. The shop offers a variety of items to satisfy your sweet tooth, including eight cupcake flavors and 15 cake pop flavors; their specialty is a Flying Pig Cake Pop.

3 Sweet Girls also sells decorated cookies, chocolate pretzels and Oreos, cake push-ups and cupcakes in a jar, plus special treats for your furry friend.
Goods on Main, 1300 Main St., Over-the-Rhine
Hours: Thursday-Sunday, subject to change

Goods is a retail collective with an ever-revolving, themed inventory. It opened in June and currently has everything you would need for an adventure, whether that be outdoors or in the kitchen.   

The store also has an event space, which is used for special occasions in OTR like Second Sundays on Main and Final Friday. There are plans to expand Goods into that event space to become a much larger store.

Center for Great Neighborhoods awards grants to eight creative Covington projects

The Center for Great Neighborhoods recently awarded $38,000 in Creative Community Grants to eight Covington residents and organizations. The grants are made possible through the Kresge Foundation, which works to implement creative placemaking activities in Covington.
Five of the eight awards were given to projects in Covington’s Westside neighborhood, which has a strong "maker" identity. Like the first round of grants, this round focuses on projects that commemorate Covington’s bicentennial and will help create arts opportunities in the neighborhood.
AJOYO, Baoku Moses: $4,000
AJOYO will focus on creating a series of community events in the style of African musical celebrations.
Bicentennial Time Capsule, CVG Made, Steven Sander, COV200: $5,000
CVG Made and COV200 are partnering with Sander, a local maker, to create a time capsule of Covington-inspired material to installed at the Hellmann Lumber Mill, which the Center for Great Neighborhoods is redeveloping. The community will vote on what goes into the time capsule, and Sander will design it. COV200 plans to host a ceremony in the fall to present the time capsule and its contents to the public before it’s locked up for the next 100 years.
Community xChange, Julia Keister: $5,000
The program will help establish an arts- and nature-focused internship network for those with disabilities.
Covington Story Project, Covington Youth Commission: $4,000
CYC will collect stories about the past, present and future from kids growing up in Covington. Local photographer Katie Woodring and writing instructor Roger Auge of Wallace Woods will help the kids put their thoughts into words and pictures, which will then be made into a booklet as well as displayed at the Kenton County Public Library.
Dougherty Claywork Architectural Ceramics, Patrick Dougherty: $5,000
Dougherty will create a piece of ceramic art that combines the influences of the Westside’s past and present. The public will have input into the project and will even get to work alongside him in his studio.
Past & Present Fashion, Annie Brown: $5,000
The B Visible team will offer six-week sewing classes to students at Holmes Middle School and Prince of Peace School. Students will combine the needlework of the past with the technology of the future to create wearable art, which will be displayed at Holmes, Prince of Peace and the Covington Library.
Try Together Fly Together, Jim Guthrie: $5,000
A large-scale mural will be created and installed through a partnership with Matt Hebermehl, an artist from Savannah, Ga. The mural will celebrate Covington’s 200th birthday as well as express optimism about the future.
Welcome to the Westside, BLDG: $5,000
BLDG will create a gateway mural that invites residents and visitors to the Westside.

Cincinnati's local food movement spurred by Partners for Places grant

The City of Cincinnati recently received a $105,000 Partners for Places grant to help strengthen the area’s local food ecosystem by supporting civic engagement, developing new food policies, creating the Cincy Food Fund and funding food fellowships. The grant was matched by Interact for Health and the Haile Foundation, stretching the potential impact even farther.
“Although the food movement can be very foodie and high-end, the robust and growing local food movement is also very sensitive to the underserved populations,” says Brewster Rhoads, outgoing executive director of Green Umbrella. “We’re committed to equity and access to local food, and this helps improve the health and overall welfare of our citizens while also growing small businesses with local dollars.”
The grant is being managed and administered by Green Umbrella, whose Local Food Action Team is at the focal point of Cincinnati’s local food movement.
“The whole notion of farm-to-table isn’t new,” Rhoads says. “What is new is the level of collaboration that is developing among those who are interested in and engaged in working with food.”
As part of this, Interact for Health recently changed its focus from healthcare to prevention, with two of the group’s four main focus areas being active living and healthy eating. The organization is helping develop the region’s walking/biking trails and funded the creation of Green Umbrella’s Local Food Action Team, which hopes to double the amount of food grown and consumed in the region by 2020.
Interact for Health also funded the Assessment of Local Food in Greater Cincinnati, which has lead to the formation of a number of local groups and organizations committed to Cincinnati’s local food movement.
“With all of these things falling into place, the food movement is just exploding,” Rhoads says. “There’s a burgeoning restaurant explosion in the region, and not just in Over-the-Rhine. With the growing interest in local food by chefs, they’re sourcing food from the region, which is creating a whole new outlet for growers in the region.”
The grants will be used to help provide funding for innovative projects that the Greater Cincinnati Regional Food Policy Council, which was launched three months ago, commissions through its four teams — production, distribution, access and land use. The teams will have funding to support pilot projects in each area of interest.
They’ll also be used for the Cincy Food Fund, which is patterned after a similar program in Indianapolis, and to underwrite the Food Fellows, who will do three-month internships that focus on production, distribution, community education and land use.
“We’re focusing on helping grow the next generation of food activists,” Rhoads says.
Part of this focus on local food comes down to the everyday consumer. Green Umbrella’s Local Food Action Team is encouraging people to commit themselves to spending 10 percent of their grocery budget on food that’s grown in the region. That act would put almost $50 million back into the local food movement.
“By changing this behavior and encouraging people to do this, it will help increase the demand on food grown in the region, and production demand will follow,” Rhoads says. 

Cincinnati State adds craft beer classes to help grow local job market

Starting this fall, Cincinnati State will offer two classes that are designed to complement the city’s growing craft beer industry. Both classes will be three credit hours and available only to students taking other Cincinnati State classes.
Carla Gesell-Streeter, chair of the Communication and Theater Department at Cincinnati State and co-owner of the Hoperatives blog, designed the classes. She’s been writing about Cincinnati’s beer culture for about six years and has seen the number of active breweries and brewpubs here grow from five in 2009 to about 30 by the end of this year.
“These classes will help bring exposure to what the professional world of brewing is,” she says. “Right now, if a brewery wants to hire a brewer with experience, they have to hire away from another brewery. The same is true for sales representatives at different brewing distributors. As a community college, we look at the workforce and identify the need. We’re looking to help build up the field and the knowledge basis.”
Gesell-Streeter submitted a proposal to the school four years ago for the new classes and recently took a sabbatical to research different programs.
BREW 100: Introduction to Craft Beer will be offered for the first time in the fall. The class will cover the history of beer and brewing as well as the different styles of beer. The class will also partner with Rhinegeist to design a beer, which will be brewed and tapped at the brewery. A sales and marketing rep will then talk to the class about possible next steps to roll out the new beer. If another section is added in the fall due to demand and when the class is offered again in the spring, a different local brewery will be invited to work with the class.
BREW 160: Sensory Evaluation will focus on cicerone, which is the craft beer equivalent of wine sommelier. There are three different levels of cicerone, with BREW 100 getting people ready for the first level, certified beer server. BREW 160 will focus more on the second and third levels, which deal with how a beer tastes and when a beer doesn’t taste right. At this point, BREW 160 doesn’t have a true pre-requisite, but it will require instructor approval.
“These classes aren’t about homebrewing, but more for people who are trying to get into the business of craft beer,” Gesell-Streeter says.
If you’re a Cincinnati State student who is interested in either beer class, email Gesell-Streeter at carla.gesell-streeter@cincinnatistate.edu for more information.

Second annual Quest for the Queen provides participants a day of adventure

In its second year, Quest for the Queen will lead participants on an “Amazing Race” of sorts through Cincinnati May 23. Teams of two compete for a prize, but they can’t use cars, smart phones, the Internet or navigation systems to get from Point A to Point B.
At the beginning of the event, participants are given a stack of riddles that will direct them to different local landmarks and small businesses. Teams can choose how they want to tackle the clues and can visit the landmarks in any order. Teams have to snap a photo at each stop to prove they were there.
Since teams can’t use their phones to look up an answer to a clue, Quest for the Queen forces people to interact with strangers to figure out where to go next.
“We were pretty ambitious last year as to how much people could do,” says John Klinger, who organizes the event with friend Matt Feldhaus. “The winners finished in seven-and-a-half hours, and when everyone arrived at the end location at Rhinegeist they were exhausted. There were a few too many checkpoints, and they were too spread out.”
This year’s event will cover less mileage and fewer checkpoints. There will also be two different routes — one for bicyclists and one for walkers or bus riders. Everyone had the same route last year, and those not on bikes weren’t competitive. The checkpoints and riddles will be different between bikers and non-bikers.
“This event gives people a way to see the city in a new light,” Klinger says. “When you live somewhere, you often forget about its little quirks. You get in your habits and you forget about things that are there, but you don’t usually do them.”
The event starts between 9:30 and 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 23 at Washington Park. The checkpoints will be spread across different neighborhoods but stay within Cincinnati city limits, so participants won’t be crossing over into Northern Kentucky or visiting the suburbs.
The cost is $30 per person, and 100 percent of the money goes back to funding the event. Dinner is provided at the end of the race, and participants receive Metro passes so they can ride the bus between locations if they wish. Each team member also gets a Quest for the Queen T-shirt, and the winners receive a prize, which hasn’t been announced yet.
The deadline to sign up is May 18. Visit questforthequeen.webs.com to register for the race, or send an email to questforthequeen@gmail.com for more information.  
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