Over the past five years, Clifton Cultural Arts Center has become an important hub of activity for the Clifton community.  We asked Emalene Benson, Programs and Office Coordinator, to share with us five ways that the CCAC is bringing neighbors and families together through the arts.

1. Hosting Free Events: Many of the events and programs CCAC puts on are offered free of charge to the community; those that aren’t come with scholarship opportunities. Programs like Wednesdays on the Green bring the entire neighborhood out to enjoy music on a summer night, while arts classes, camps, and exhibitions allow for deeper conversations and connections. CCAC is proud to provide many free opportunities for our neighbors to connect with the arts and with one another. 

CCAC Wednesdays on the Green

2. Bringing the arts home:  CCAC brings diverse arts organizations from all over the region to the center, such as Cincinnati Opera and Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, allowing folks to experience the many wonderful performing arts organizations in our city right in their neighborhood.   The Second Sunday Family Showtime Series brings family-friendly shows every month including the popular Madcap Puppets. Uptown residents and neighbors have the opportunity to experience a new art form or performance, and arts organizations meet potential new audience members.  A win-win, we think!

Keeping time: The crowning architectural jewel of CCAC, sitting high on top of the building, is the clock tower.  The four-faced timekeeper proudly rings out each hour, and more than one class participant has remarked that they’ve hurried into CCAC after hearing the clock chime out their lateness!  Bob and Sean, two of CCAC’s neighbors, manage the clock: checking its gears, resetting it for time changes, and ensuring the many mechanisms inside are working properly.  Over the years Bob has been teaching Sean how to care for the clock, passing along his knowledge to the next generation to be sure the clock isn’t neglected and our community is running on schedule! 

Generating creative conversations: Community art centers are goldmines for personal expression, especially if you’re looking for like-minded people to share your ideas and opinions with in a friendly, casual setting.  At CCAC, there are ample opportunities for conversation: we’ve even launched an entire adults’ series dedicated to them!  A guest at one of this season’s Sunset Salons events said that her favorite part of the evening was the honesty and openness of the discussion at the event. She felt comfortable asking questions and voicing her own ideas without fear of judgment by her peers.  We’re thrilled to be able to connect our community with local cultural experts –and with each other – for creative, causal, and knowledgeable conversations. 

Family drumming at CCAC 5. Showcasing and introducing exciting artists:  Visual art exhibitions are a big part of the work we do at CCAC.  You may have heard of the annual Golden Ticket Artists Exhibition, which showcases the work of the talented artists in our region, or of our participation in the FotoFocus Biennial, which celebrates lens-based artists both locally and internationally.  But did you know that CCAC also provides a platform for new artists?  For the past three years, our galleries have hosted the Summerfair Emerging Artists Exhibition.  This month-long exhibition features the work of local junior and senior art majors from local universities, representing the next generation of artists to emerge on the local art scene.  

This year, we’re partnering with two schools in Clifton, Fairview-Clifton German Language School and Annunciation Elementary School, to present the Young Artists At Work Exhibit.  Curated by the art teachers at both schools, this exhibit will display pieces that the students have created throughout the course of the year.  Watching an excited third grader pull his mom into the gallery to show off his artwork and hearing him talk about how proud he is be a “part of the museum” is a wonderful example of how CCAC is instilling confidence and creativity in kids—skills that will help them throughout their entire lives!

ArtsWave supports many community arts centers like CCAC.  We believe these arts centers add vitality to the neighborhood, provide residents with opportunities to connect and share experiences, and build community pride.  Tell us about your experience at your local community arts center using #ArtsRipple