8/25/2023 12:00:00 AM
CINCINNATI — August 25, 2023 — The Cincinnati Art Museum (CAM) is beginning a nearly year-long construction project on its south-facing ground level. At its conclusion, this area—which houses many of the museum’s public programs and annual summer camp—will be fully accessible and boast two new classrooms, greatly improving its capacity to serve students of all ages and abilities; a research center for photography, prints and drawings; and a new event space.
Notably, the DeWitt Entrance, which serves the ground level, will move to the building’s original central axis. Upon entering, visitors can take a new, natural-light-filled staircase that will connect the ground level to the Cincinnati Wing on the first floor, where several galleries, the Terrace Café, Gift Shop, Rosenthal Education Center and more public areas are located.
“The rethinking of the museum’s interactions with our community, historic park and research capabilities are exciting,” shared Louis and Louise Dieterle Nippert Director Cameron Kitchin. “Through creative expansion within our walls, we are able to enhance the Cincinnati Art Museum’s scope and reach. I look forward to sharing it with Cincinnati when we open the new spaces in 2024.”
The ground level will close September 1 for the renovations and will reopen by fall 2024. The museum—accessible via the main, front entrance—will remain open throughout the ground level’s construction, including most galleries, Terrace Café, Mary R. Schiff Library & Archives, Rosenthal Education Center, Museum Shop, Alice Bimel Courtyard and staff work areas. The museum’s exhibitions, galleries, and public hours will continue to serve Cincinnati in full. The museum will relocate programs that historically take place on the ground level to alternative spaces. (Visit cincyart.org for updates.)
Cincinnati Art Museum has engaged emersion DESIGN and Walnut Hills-based Triversity Construction for the design and construction work, respectively.
An expansive area with window walls overlooking Eden Park, named the Marek Family Commons, will include two new classrooms—connected by a moveable wall—that will seat 16 and 24 people, respectively, in addition to a large flexible space that can seat up to 144 people.
Importantly, the new rooms will strengthen the museum’s service to school field trips by providing dedicated spaces for art making and lunches, widening the timeframe for student visits (which were previously restricted to 9–11 a.m. since the museum did not have a space for visiting students to eat). The spaces also will serve several of the museum’s own public programs.
Ultimately, the museum will add more hands-on art classes for people of all ages, work with more after-school programs and better fulfill its initiative with Cincinnati Public Schools to provide museum tours and art-making experiences for fourth-grade students across the district.
A new public research center, generously supported by the Carl M. Jacobs Foundation at Fifth Third, will be open for visitors to study photographs, prints and drawings from the museum’s collection and provide another important venue for ongoing scholarship and programming. Long a need, the Jacobs Center expands on some of the most important collections in the museum.
Photography, prints and drawings require special care due to their fragile nature. The Jacobs Center will allow researchers and the public to access these historic works of art through programs, special engagements, micro exhibitions and academic requests. The work of the Jacobs Center, fully embedded within the Cincinnati Art Museum, will bring the institution to the forefront of international study. State-of-the-art features will preserve and provide critical access to the growing collection of over 30,000 works of art across history and cultures.
The Marek Family Commons will allow external organizations to reserve meeting space outside of museum operating hours (which the ground level’s current layout cannot accommodate). The 144-seat space will also serve visitors looking for a place to relax and recharge, and a nearby lactation room will be available for nursing mothers. CAM’s special events team will serve all areas from a new, nearby catering room.
The 300-seat Fath Auditorium, located on the ground level, will receive several audio/visual upgrades. Auditorium operations will be paused throughout the construction period but will return with expanded capabilities.
Other “behind-the-scenes” improvements will include enhanced installation and registration offices, state-of-the-art photography studio, new air handling systems and a meeting room for museum volunteers.
The ground level’s improvements will help fulfill all three priority investment areas of the museum’s most recent strategic plan:
Gifts made to the museum’s A New View campaign, which surpassed its $65 million fundraising goal in October, will largely fund the expansive project. A New View was the museum’s most ambitious fundraising effort in its 141-year history.
The Cincinnati Art Museum is supported by the generosity of individuals and businesses that give annually to ArtsWave. The Ohio Arts Council helps fund the Cincinnati Art Museum with state tax dollars to encourage economic growth, educational excellence and cultural enrichment for all Ohioans. The Cincinnati Art Museum gratefully acknowledges operating support from the City of Cincinnati, as well as our members.
Free general admission to the Cincinnati Art Museum is made possible by a gift from the Rosenthal Family Foundation. Exhibition pricing may vary. Parking at the Cincinnati Art Museum is free. cincinnatiartmuseum.org
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