Art Academy of Cincinnati Celebrates Expansion into Former BarrelHouse Space with Weekend Block Party

The school will fete SITE 1212 — a "new center for community impact" — on Friday and Saturday with vendors, art, food and live music from Wussy and Young Heirlooms.

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Art Academy of Cincinnati's campus in Over-the-Rhine - Photo: Art Academy of Cincinnati
Photo: Art Academy of Cincinnati
Art Academy of Cincinnati's campus in Over-the-Rhine

The Art Academy of Cincinnati (AAC) is throwing a house party this weekend to celebrate its expansion into Over-the-Rhine's former BarrelHouse Brewing Co.

The AAC moved from its one-time home in Mount Adams to its current building at 1212 Jackson St. in 2005. At that time, the space was attached to the iconic BarrelHouse — a popular music venue and one of the city's first wave of microbreweries — which opened in 1995. The brewery later became a "brewpub" and then closed in 2010. The BarrelHouse sat unused until 2019, when the AAC says they began renovations there. 

Now called SITE 1212, the AAC refers to the space as a "new center for community impact" and "an open door for problem-solving in the city, leveraging the college's academic programming and unique place in the thriving arts district."

Amanda Parker-Wolery, the AAC's VP of marketing and enrollment, tells CityBeat one example of SITE 1212's impact is the recently completed Leadership Academy. The STEAM-focused program aimed to "unlock the next generation of innovators, entrepreneurs, and problem solvers by empowering them in an environment that challenges familiar narratives and constructs associated with black and brown communities."

To fête SITE 1212 and its mission, the AAC is hosting an all-day party on Saturday, Aug. 28 with a preview event on Final Friday, Aug. 27. 

From 6-10 p.m. on Friday, the public can grab a sneak peek of the space as well as exhibitions Never a Day Without Drawing, honoring the work of AAC professor Constance McClure, and House Party: Reunion, featuring the work of AAC alumni.

click to enlarge Wussy (as a duo) will be playing the party. - Photo: Provided by Wussy
Photo: Provided by Wussy
Wussy (as a duo) will be playing the party.

As a special bonus, Wussy Duo — featuring Chuck Cleaver and Lisa Walker — will be performing, along with Curt Kiser of Carriers

Then on Saturday, the block party lasts from noon to midnight around the school, as well as in the former BarrelHouse location.

BarrelHouse brewmasters Rick Debar (currently at Brewery Ommegang) and Brian Sprance (now at New Riff Distilling) will be serving up a BarrelHouse vanilla stout, complemented by illustrations from AAC grad Jim Effler, who designed labels for BarrelHouse's bottled beer.

Local Indie Folk favorites Young Heirlooms will headline the music portion of the day, with additional tunes from Cincinnati Music Accelerator and Inhailer Radio. There will also be a burlesque show and a fashion show, along with guided mural tours from ArtWorks. 

As part of the block party aspect, vendors and AAC students will be in booths along Jackson Street, with food from Taste of Belgium, Banging Burgers, and Hoff’s Pretzel Company.  

The event is free and open to the public. Find a full lineup of musicians and details at artacademy.edu.

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