Best Of 2020

Modernist wildlife artist Charley Harper — an Art Academy of Cincinnati graduate who created iconic works for Ford Times, The Golden Book of Biology, the National Park Service and plenty of local organizations — is a Cincinnati favorite. Find murals he crafted himself, like the colorful and geometric ceramic tile wall of animals in the John Weld Peck Federal Building or the uncovered-in-2015 abstract “Space Walk” at the Duke Energy Convention Center, or those made in homage to him — like ArtWorks’ “Homecoming (Blue Birds)” — spread throughout the city. And if you want to wear his art or use it on everyday objects like mugs or tea towels, you can find Harper goods at shops like MiCA 12/v, the Cincinnati Art Museum or Fabulous Frames & Art. The latter specializes in all things Harper, including Edie Harper (Charley’s wife and also an artist) and Brett Harper (their son and artist). Fabulous Frames has a special portal online, charleyharper.com, featuring art for collectors and a dizzying array of products. If you just want more Harper in your home, they carry everything from quilting bundles to puzzles, earrings, art tiles, ornaments, onesies and very cool skateboard decks. A collaboration with Habitat Skateboards, the decks feature works including Harper’s poster for “The Desert” made for the National Park Service in the 1980s, his “Squid and Whale” and several of his iconic red cardinals. The illustrations are printed on the decks, which are made of American-sourced 7-ply maple, according to the site. Fabulous Frames & Art, multiple locations including 17 W. Fourth St., Downtown, charleyharperartstudio.com, fabframes.com.

Shops & Services
Illustration: Taylor Speed


2. Tiny Needle Community Acupuncture

3. Hamilton Health Associates          

2. Dusty Flynt Sexy Gifts                    

3. High on the Hill

So, you qualified for medical marijuana in Ohio: Great, and sorry for what ails ya’. Ohio law currently allows those with certain medical conditions (cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, HIV, PTSD, chronic pain and many more) to sign up as a patient, after being approved by a licensed physician, with the Ohio Medical Marijuana Registry and Ohio Board of Pharmacy. Your physician will approve you to use a 90-day supply of certain forms of marijuana for your specific condition — oils, tinctures, edibles, vapes. And once you’re approved, you have to go to a licensed dispensary to purchase your medication. There are only a few in the Cincinnati area: Verilife, kind of by Pleasant Ridge; Have a Heart Cincy, co-founded by Rev. Damon Lynch III and located in Hartwell, which is the only dispensary to open so far technically within city limits; and Verdant Creations in Columbia Township, kind of by Target and across from the original little MadTree taproom. (There’s also About Wellness Ohio in Lebanon.) But Verdant Creations seems to be a card-carrying favorite because it has affordable price points and offers frequent discounts. After checking in with your medical marijuana card and ID, you’ll head to the Verdant Creations waiting room to peruse a menu of the current offerings. The menu is divided by form (edible, flower, tincture, etc.) as well as brand and strain (indica, sativa). And if you have no idea what any of that means, the helpful “budtenders” will teach you about the different applications as they relate to your specific ailment, especially if you weren’t or haven’t been a big pot smoker/vaper/eater/tincture-er up until his point. Note: These budtenders aren’t pharmacists, they just know a lot about pot. (They’re also very helpful if you’re confused about what constitutes a “90-day supply” limit.) After you make your selection, it’s filled in a back room and delivered through a window with a prescription label and sealed in a bag with a staple. You have to pay in cash (they have an ATM) or some weird digital payment. But it doesn’t really matter, because prices here are reasonable. And they usually have sales, special deals and promotions. Like they offered 29 percent off their entire inventory on Leap Day (there was a line out the door and an hours-long wait). Sign up for text alerts for discount notifications. Verdant Creations, 5149 Kennedy Ave., Columbia Township, verdantcreations.com.

2. Florence Antique Mall                  

3. Wooden Nickel Antiques   

2. Clifton Cultural Arts Center

3. Brazee Street Studios        

2. Michaels                

3. Cappel’s     

2. Beechmont Subaru            

3. Walt Sweeney Ford

2. Courtesy Automotive                     

3. Joseph Toyota of Cincinnati

2. CarZmedics            

3. Carriage House Car Wash