Tuesday, September 10, 2002

New art center taking shape

Final steel beam hoisted

By Marilyn Bauer mbauer@enquirer.com
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The last steel beam was hoisted to the top of downtown's Lois & Richard Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art Monday in a noontime ceremony attended by art patrons, administrators and government officials.

Richard and Lois Rosenthal sign the final beam.
(Glenn Hartong photo)
| ZOOM |
        More than 50 people signed the beam, along with countless construction workers who have been at work on the building for more than a year. It was designed by London-based architect Zaha Hadid.

        “It's so exciting,” said Lois Rosenthal. “Look how everyone is smiling. Maybe it will be the beginning of something new and good in Cincinnati.”

        As the beam jerked up on rope pulleys held steady by two of Turner Construction's crew, the crowd broke out in applause.

        “Every time I come by this building it reminds me that there is going to be a new day in Cincinnati,” Mayor Charlie Luken said. “It's going to be unlike anything we've ever seen in the city, and, for my money, that's good.”

        The Rosenthal Center, scheduled to open May 31, 2003, will be the first free-standing home for the CAC and the city's first museum designed by a woman. The 85,000-square-foot structure at the northwest corner of Walnut and Sixth streets will feature galleries of varying sizes connected like a three-dimensional jigsaw puzzle of solid structures and open spaces.

        The six stories will hold 17,000 square feet of gallery space, the UnMuseum (a children's education center), a 150-seat performance space, bookstore, cafi and office facilities.

        The new CAC is part of a wave of building in art institutions in Cincinnati, including major renovations at the Taft Museum of Art and the Cincinnati Art Museum.

        “I think it's an important step in the transition of the city,” Mr. Luken said. “Cincinnati will look entirely different in the next five years especially with this fabulous international structure in our downtown.”

        Mary Stagaman, who is organizing the Festival of the New, an arts celebration to be held in 2003 with the new CAC at its center, announced a $100,000 gift from the Greater Cincinnati Foundation to get the festival off the ground.

        “It's an opportunity to change perceptions about Cincinnati throughout the world,” she said.


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