Thursday, October 9, 2003

Art museum extends invitation to Colerain



By Reid Forgrave
The Cincinnati Enquirer

EDEN PARK - The Cincinnati Art Museum wants you to feel special.

The museum, with its impressive Romanesque columns and its Cincinnati Wing full of locally produced art, wants the community to feel some ownership.

IF YOU GO
What: Colerain Township Day at the Cincinnati Art Museum
Where: Cincinnati Art Museum, 953 Eden Park Drive
When: Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Transportation: A bus will leave the Colerain Township Senior Center, 4300 Springdale Road, at 11:30 a.m. and return by 5 p.m. Residents are encouraged to make a day of visiting other attractions downtown.
Cost: Free to all
Special for Colerain residents: If you give an ID card proving you live in Colerain Township, you receive discounts at the shop and cafe, as well as private tours of the new Cincinnati Wing.
More info: 721-ARTS or www.cincinnatiartmuseum.org
So the Eden Park museum is embarking on a new entree into communities such as Colerain Township, Price Hill, College Hill and Walnut Hills, hoping to generate more arts interest through neighborhood outreach events.

This Saturday, Colerain Township residents are invited to the museum for Colerain Township Day.

"Historically we haven't been drawing visitors from those areas," said Cindy Fink, marketing director for the museum. "But now that we've gone 'free,' we can truly be accessible and open our doors to the community. There isn't a single reason you shouldn't come now."

Colerain residents will be treated like museum members - given free audio tours, discounts at the shop and cafe as well as a sneak preview of the museum's newest exhibition that opens Tuesday - "A Separate Sphere," an exhibit of 62 dresses made by Cincinnatians between 1877 and 1922.

"We want to make them feel extra special," said museum spokeswoman Natalie Wheeler. "We want to think more about the communities that aren't coming to the museum so much."

Transportation will be provided from Colerain Township, and attendance will be free between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Since the museum became free to the public on May 17 through a gift from the Lois and Richard Rosenthal Foundation, attendance has increase by 20 percent, Fink said.

"This shows that the Cincinnati Art Museum is our museum, too," said Keith Corman, president of the Colerain Township Board of Trustees.

"It's a regional museum, not just a museum for the city of Cincinnati."

Museum officials picked the four communities to be the first participants in its new outreach program, which it hopes to expand to other communities in the region.

The museum has started after-school and summer school programs for children in Walnut Hills, helped out with the summer arts festival in Price Hill, and invited the Colerain residents for their own day at the museum.

If Colerain Township Day succeeds, museum officials hope to do the same for the other three Open Doors Ambassadors communities, and then may consider adding more communities to the outreach programs.

"Think of how many other communities there are in our area that we want to tap," Fink said. "It's definitely an indication of a new day here at the museum."

E-mail rforgrave@enquirer.com




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