Tuesday, April 9, 2002

Faces of Over-the-Rhine

Joseph Winterhalter poses in his studio above an Over-the-Rhine dry cleaners. (Photo by Craig Ruttle)
Joseph M. Winterhalter

        Diebenkorn, Derrida and Deconstructionism all come up in discussions with artist, Joseph M. Winterhalter. So do muggings, crack heads, affluent suburbanites and sausage. And the fact his grandparents were born 100 yards away from the home/studio space he rents above a dry cleaners.

        Mr. Winterhalter, 36, is disheartened. The situation is grim in Over-the-Rhine. He thinks things are going to get a lot worse before they get better. He thinks the place has an edge that didn't exist before the April riots.

        "I'm a little more cautious and a little more fed up," he says. "I moved down here seven or eight years ago because it was a cheap place to get decent studio space. But every day you walk out the door and who knows what's going to happen. I'm not sure how much longer I want to stay."

        The victim of a violent street robbery five years ago, Mr. Winterhalter was accosted again on his way to an exhibition of his paintings at the Weston Gallery late last year. On his way to schmooze it up with the more than 500 guests who would attend, and uncharacteristically dressed in a suit, he was accosted for the second time by an African-American male. Someone he knew from the hood.

        "I stopped to get a pack of cigarettes up the street," he remembers. "Because I had a suit on he automatically thought I wasn't from here."

        A big guy with a shaved head, black-rimmed glasses, wearing a black pocket T, Mr. Winterhalter doesn't look to be the typical target of street crime. Standing among the beautiful lightness of his abstract paintings he has presence. He quotes Leonard Cohen and Hans Hoffman. He says he is philosophical about all that has happened.

        "The problem is there is a lot of hypocrisy and ignorance on both sides," he says. "People who come down here wanting to make it better don't necessarily see what it is living down here day to day. I think it would be nice if people stepped back and took a more logical view of what is going on as opposed to acting on impulse or heart. You don't undo centuries of injustice."

        Mr. Winterhalter says little has changed in the last year. He doesn't see more beat cops but more guys hanging out on the street who hadn't before. He doesn't see opportunites for affordable housing that he feels would solve a few problems and create civic pride. And, he sees city government responding with "bandaid solutions" often out of self interest.

        "I don't have any answers," he says. "But when you keep seeing the same things happen over and over, it doesn't give you much hope."

-Marilyn Bauer

Faces of Over-the-Rhine
Restaurant owner Paul Sebring
Taft senior Darrel Shields
Social worker Angela Coleman
Sarah Center director Sister Jeanette Buehler
Jordanian grocer Taraq T.A. Adwani
Filmmaker Steve Gebhardt
Gallery owner Suzanna Terril
Beauty shop supplier Chong Kim
Teacher's aide Kemberley Alexander
Waitress Karla Davis
Teacher Sharon Brooks
Dock worker Leo Sneed
Police officer Michael Ammann
Soup kitchen manager Denise McPherson
- Artist Joseph M. Winterhalter
Janitor Latrell Walker
Fund-raiser Torren "T.J." Partridge
School social worker Joe Wilmers
Rehabber Greg Badger
Medical student John Eckman
Treatment counselor Calvin W. Wooten
Photographer Jimmy Heath

The Police
Violence up, arrests down
- Changes made since April 2001
Q&A with Police Chief Streicher
Q&A with former F.O.P. president Keith Fangman

Neighbor to Neighbor
Community meetings produce results
Going beyond polite silence
What your neighbors said
What do you think?
What's happening in 145 communities
A sampling of communities:
Mount Healthy
Pleasant Ridge
What institutions are doing

Related Links
Neighbor to Neighbor home page
Matters of Race: Bridging the divide in Greater Cincinnati
On the Same Page Cincinnati
Live Without Hate
Common Ground
Cincinnati 2001: Year of unrest
Unrest in the city: Archive of riot coverage
Unrest photo timeline
Jim Borgman on race

One Year Later
What were they thinking?
Too early to assess impact
Micheal Basnight's resolve
Violence part of life in OTR
CAN co-chair has no doubt
ACLU adds its Y-E-S to deal

Restaurant owner
Taft senior
Social worker
Sarah Center director
Jordanian grocer
Gallery owner
Beauty shop supplier
Teacher's aide
Dock worker
Police officer
Soup kitchen manager
School social worker
Medical student
Treatment counselor

Violence up, arrests down
Changes since April 2001
Q&A with Streicher
Q&A with Keith Fangman

Meetings produce results
Beyond polite silence
What your neighbors said
What do you think?
In your community
Mount Healthy
Pleasant Ridge
What institutions are doing

Neighbor to Neighbor
Matters of Race
On the Same Page
Live Without Hate
Common Ground
Year of unrest
Riot news archive
Unrest photos
Jim Borgman on race