Best Of 2022

Best Art Academy Expansion

In August, the Art Academy of Cincinnati expanded into a neighboring space to expand the school’s mission. SITE 1212 is the AAC’s “new center for community impact.” Located at 1212 Jackson St. in the former BarrelHouse — a popular music venue and one of the city’s first wave of modern microbreweries — the spot remained vacant from the brewpub’s closure in 2010 until AAC began renovations to expand their campus in 2019. Alongside Elevar Design Group, AAC transformed the space into a community gathering place for artistic work and urban problem-solving. Gathering Cincinnati creatives is just the start. To sum up the mission at its most basic, AAC President and CEO Joe Girandola says that SITE 1212 is about making a difference in the region. He sees artists as uniquely positioned to use their talents to collaborate with organizations and imagine solutions beyond the studio to make a social impact. “Artists not only have a vision aesthetically but could collaborate with community partners — like the Homeless Coalition of Cincinnati, Freestore Foodbank, many different programs in the city that are trying to make a difference,” he says. “Why not enable artists to be at the table when problems are being discussed?”