Cincinnati's Stops for Local Art

The local art scene in Cincinnati. is thriving Across the city are galleries and museums where you can check out work from current artists as well as masters like Duveneck, who was born across the Ohio River in Covington. 

Cincinnati Art Museum

953 Eden Park Dr, Cincinnati, OH 45202

The Cincinnati Art Museum, located in Eden Park, offers free admission to most galleries. It's located high atop a hill in an historic building and features works by Monet, Miro, Chagall, as well as a great selection of local art by Duveneck, modern works by Cal Kowal, and a fantastic collection of Rookwood pottery.

The Rookwood Bar & Restaurant

1077 Celestial Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202, United States

The Rookwood has been open for decades and is a massive Tudor-style building in the heart of Mount Adams. While it isn't a gallery per se, or at all, its a great place for Rookwood Pottery fans who want to see where the whole thing started. This is the site of Rookwood Poettery's former production house. It was restored as a restaurant - even the massive kilns are private areas for diners looking for a little privacy.
The restaurant and bar offers decent burgers and typical American fare. It's undergone different owners and service can be hit or miss. But it's worth a visit to see Rookwood and learn its history.

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Contemporary Arts Center

44 East 6th Street, Cincinnati, OH, United States

The CAC made headlines in 1990 for its unwillingness to close the Mapplethorpe exhibit that the sheriff in town called pornographic. A lawsuit ensued and the CAC won. Today, it's a bit of beacon of free speech here, with a newish location designed by architect Zaha Hadid. In addition to thought-provoking, excellently curated shows by internationally acclaimed modern artists like Shepard Fairey (whose work is all over Cincinnati) they have a cool performance space, great opening parties, and a good selection of local art, too.

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UC's DAAP Galleries

PO Box 210016, Cincinnati, OH 45221, United States

There's a reason the University of Cincinnati's College of Design, Art, Architecture and Planning (DAAP) is a leading school for art and design. Exhibits feature the art of faculty, staff and students and are very well-curated. Guest lecturers like Camille Paglia visit DAAP Galleries and it was recently featured in a PBS documentary called "Art & Craft" about forger Mark Landis.
We saw the documentary on vacation and had one of those, "Wait, isn't that Cincinnati...?" moments.
You've got to navigate DAAP's confusing building to get to the galleries but it's well worth it. Park on Clifton Avenue and check out of the sculptures as you make your way to the school.

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Raymond Thunder-Sky

4573 Hamilton Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45223, United States

This little gallery space, located next door to Envision vintage store and The Comet (great burritos, beers and brunch) features art by artists with disabilities and other outside art. It was named after Raymond Thunder-Sky, an artist who dressed as a clown and showed up at construction sites where he sketched the scenes, No one quite knew what the guy in the clown suit did for decades - he was a Cincinnati fixture who, until his death, remained unknown for his work.
Artists like Antonio Adams shows here and the work is amazing and reasonably priced. Openings are fun, too.

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Art Beyond Boundaries

1410 Main St, Cincinnati, OH 45202, United States

Art Beyond Boundaries has ongoing exhibits and shows featuring the work of artists with disabilities. The aim is to create awareness of the disabled in art and they do a great job of this every month. I visit Art Beyond Boundaries often to see the new exhibits and I am consistently blown away at the quality of thw work. It's a great space and especially fun during Final Friday and for openings. The gallery is open daily and features work by local and regional artaist with disabilities.

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Rock Paper Scissors -- CLOSED

1301 Main St, Cincinnati, OH 45202, United States

A wonderful place in OTR that features local wares for sale and art supplies. They're also a local music retail store. THe first time I visited Rock, Paper, Scissors I was really impressed with the amount of local art there is in this city - and this store does a great job representing. They also conduct creative workshops here. Check it out for cool gifts for the art lover, art supplies and some great local music.

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Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park & Museum

1763 Hamilton Cleves Rd, Hamilton, OH 45013, United States

Out on the northwest fringes of Cincinnati, this is a park and museum that is sometimes overlooked which is good and bad - it's never crowded but considering its gorgeous grounds and enormous collection it should be. The entire park is 265 acres and it features both contemporary sculptures and a museum with ancient Egyptian and Greek artwork.
The road to the park is winding and scenic. Completely worth the 20 minute drive from the city for a day walking and viewing beautiful art. The park is also available for weddings and other special events. In fact, I first visited the park for a very unique and beautiful wedding.

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Main Auction Galleries Inc

137 W 4th St, Cincinnati, OH 45202, United States

Main Auction Galleries is a fantastic place for history buffs and art lovers. They not only liquidate and appraise homes and estates locally but now nationwide. Auctions happen on a regular basis and you can bid online or visit their store on Main Street. Their collections are always eclectic when I've visited - from art to furniture to collectables, there is always something extremely unique to admire. The staff at Main Auction are very helpful and friendly - they've been in business on Fourth Street since I can remember. It's a great peek back in time.

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Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal

1301 Western Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45203

The Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal is an Art Deco landmark. Shaped as an old radio, and the space itself was created to house local art (as well as move trains). Winold Reiss mosaics are featured prominently in the terminal as well as pained murals and a Rookwood tiled ice cream parlor. The rotunda is swathed in massive, bright colors and all around are gilded gold finished. It's perfectly fine to visit Union Terminal, walk around the rotunda and check out the Art Deco era art without setting foot in the museums.

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What? The CVG/NKY International Airport is a great place to see local art? Yes, it is! That's because Rinold Reiss's massive mosaic murals grace the baggage claim at Terminal A. These murals were created in the early 1930s and depict Cincinnati's manufacturing scene. They are gorgeous Art Deco pieces that are very much a part of Cincinnati's history.
There are other murals at the airport that are in terminals that aren't being used but word on the street is that they are being moved to Union Terminal, where they were housed for years.

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Taft Museum of Art

316 Pike St, Cincinnati, OH 45202, United States

The beautiful Taft Museum of Art features work of local artists as well as masters from across the globe. It's a very beautiful space with gorgeous gardens and rooms that evoke another time when things were a lot more elegant and refined. Check out the Taft for very well-curated exhibits by local artists. The museum also features an artist-in-residence every year from the city and occasionally shows multimedia presentations.

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Habanero

358 Ludlow Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45220

Habanero may be a pretty decent burrito place but it's also a restaurant that has supported local artists since they opened more than a decade ago. The collection changes monthly and usually all the pieces are for sale. From photography to painting, they always chose great work that goes well with the space. They also prominently feature information about the artist which I really appreciate. This is a great stop to have a bite and relax with a beer around local art.

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Final Friday Cincinnati

1338 Main St Cincinnati, OH 45202

Final Friday has been happening in Cincinnati's Over-the-Rhine neighborhood for decades. On the last Friday night of every month, galleries and shops stay open for shows and either exhibit openings or closings. The event is a few blocks long and can take an entire evening to see - check out the galleries and then pop into a bar or restaurant (or more) for a little break.

Last updated at Dec 28, 2015