The Looking Glass

Eight interpretations of autumn art

Sep 5, 2012 at 10:00 am
Pyramid Hill Art Fair
Pyramid Hill Art Fair

Visual cultural opportunities abound this fall with events happening in and around Cincinnati for your viewing pleasure. Each idea or event listed here will allow you to explore a different facet of visual cultural opportunities in Cincinnati this fall — from stargazing for the nature-lover to ornate Shakespearian costumes for fashionistas to an old-fashioned candy shop for the foodie in your life. Because art is a subjective interpretation, you can find inspiration wherever you may look this season — but we’ve broken it down into some fun and affordable suggestions. Take a ride, behold the scenery and enjoy the last of the fall weather before things get too cool for the winter.

1: League of Women Voters’ screening of Iron Jawed Angels
While the topic of the upcoming election will no doubt be weighing heavily on your mind this season, spend a little time appreciating how far our country has come in less than a century. The League of Women Voters of the Cincinnati Area and Cincinnati World Cinema will host a viewing of Iron Jawed Angels, a film based on the real-life struggle of American women to gain the right to vote, at the Carnegie Visual and Performing Arts Center. There will be post-film discussions lead by local leaders such as Roxanne Qualls and Kathy Helmbock. Free. Registration required. 4 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 8. Carnegie Arts Center, 1028 Scott Blvd., Covington.

2: The Tempest: Cincinnati Shakespeare in the Park 

Since its recent renovations, Over-the-Rhine’s 150-year-old Washington Park has quickly been established as a viable venue for such local event-throwing organizations as City Flea and Midpoint Music Festival. This coming Sunday, ArtsWave and the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company are partnering to host a free “Shakespeare in the Park” production of The Tempest. Performers will engage the audience in waving hundreds of yards of fabric to turn the crowd into a storm at sea, creating a buzz of “mischievous spirits” with noisemakers and transforming the civic lawn into a fairyland of lit cell phones. The early evening timeslot allows the event to be family-friendly, but it could also be a worthy excuse to go out on a romantic (free!) date with that special someone. Free. 7 p.m. Sept. 9. Washington Park, 1230 Elm St, Over-the-Rhine.
3: Stonelick Lake Stargazes 

Every month on Saturday evenings around the New Moon, Stonelick Lake State Park hosts The Friends of the Observatory’s Dark Sky Viewing Site. The amateur astronomy club sets up telescopes for the viewing public to watch the wonders of the night sky, and the event is free and open to the public. Stonelick Lake is far enough from the light pollution of the city and surrounding suburbs to allow for dark viewing skies throughout the year.  A mere 45-minute drive from Cincinnati proper, visitors get the opportunity to view planets, galaxies, nebulae, star clusters and stars via many different types of telescopes. Viewings begin after dusk and only on nights that are clear, so be sure to check the webpage for their daily “Clear Sky Chart” on the Observatory’s website before you go. Free. Sept. 8, 15, Oct. 13 and 20. Stonelick State Park. 2895 Lake Drive, Pleasant Plain. 513-321-5186,

4: Pyramid Hill 10th Annual Art Fair

It’s always a good plan to slip into the air-conditioned galleries of a local museum when you need a break from the dog days of summer, but with the morbidly hot weather ending it’s time to get outside and enjoy the crisp (albeit brief) fall weather this part of the region has to offer. A perfect outdoor destination for your art viewing pleasure is Pyramid Hill, a 265-acre outdoor museum with monumental sculptures strategically placed among gardens, forests and meadows. For the price of a $5 parking fee on Saturday, Sept. 29 from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and Sunday, Sept. 30 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Pyramid Hill hosts their 10th Annual Art Fair. More than 70 artists of both 3-D and 2-D artwork will display and sell their work, and there will be musical entertainment and hands-on activities for children. Pyramid Hill. 1763 Hamilton-Cleves Road, Hamilton. 513-868-1234,
5: Costumes and candy
Want to be the coolest dad/aunt/older sibling on the block this Halloween? Take your favorite youngster on a day jaunt to Cappel’s Costume Annex on Race Street (or if you’re feeling more crafty, their Party Store a block away on Elm) sometime before Halloween for every spooky accoutrement your favorite ghost or goblin could want. Conveniently enough, situated on Court Street right between both Cappel’s stores downtown is Cincinnati’s oldest candy store: Peter Minges & Son Wholesale Candy & Confections. The wooden plank-floored store with barrels of hard-to-find candy sells mostly in bulk, but also a few things individually, and it is a trip down memory lane for those of us old enough to remember Necco SkyBars, Candy Cigarettes and “Uncle Al” marshmallow cones. Both Cappel’s and Minges are long-standing Cincinnati businesses, so your holiday pennies are well spent and stay local. Cappel’s, 917 Race St., Downtown. 513-621-9499,; Peter Minges & Son, 138 W. Court St., Downtown. 513-241-7376.

6: Faculty Office at Art Academy of Cincinnati

If you’re a fine arts educator, a common challenge is having an excuse to dedicate time to your own artistic practice. Every Final Friday this fall, the Art Academy of Cincinnati’s Faculty Office exhibition space hosts openings of contemporary art by artists who teach — giving everyone from high school teachers to community education instructors a reason to focus on their own work. Situated on the lower level of the Jackson Street AAC building and run by AAC Sculpture Professor Keith Benjamin, past exhibitions have showcased the work of UC’s Matt Lynch, University of Dayton’s Jeffrey Cortland Jones and the AAC’s own Ken Henson. In October they’ll have an exhibition to coincide with FOTOFOCUS called “low road,” presenting artists who make photographs but do not consider themselves photographers. Art Academy of Cincinnati, 1212 Jackson St., Over-the-Rhine. 513-562-6262,

7: Hauntings of Greater Cincinnati Tour

Cincinnati Museum Center’s “Heritage Programs” are an ongoing series of visually stimulating tours that focus on historic, cultural and architectural local sites. And if you want to find out more about ghostly area haunts (like Bobby Mackey’s nightclub, where the headless Pearl Bryant and her lover still occupy the one-time slaughterhouse and rumored occultist hangout, or other historic homes on both sides of the Ohio River, where long-dead occupants continue to inhabit their old surroundings), you would do well to take part in the upcoming “Hauntings of Greater Cincinnati” tour, which takes place Friday, Sept. 28. An all-day tour that requires walking and standing for long periods of time, this is not a trip for the weak of heart — it will raise some hairs on the back of your neck, so dress comfortably and wear comfortable shoes. $75 for museum members, $85 for non-members. Registration deadline is Sept. 21. Cincinnati Museum Center. 513-287-7031,


One of our country’s premiere visual arts institutions is a mere two-hour drive from Cincinnati. The Wexner Center for the Arts routinely showcases multidisciplinary programs that encompass performing arts, exhibitions, and film/video media that are on the cutting-edge of current practice. One such upcoming program is SONTAG: REBORN, a touring “stage portrait” created by performance and media company (helmed by Artistic Director, Marianne Weems) The Builders Association. A tender look at the world-renowned author and activist’s early years as a student and aspiring writer, SONTAG: REBORN delves into her internal struggles with self-discovery and sexual identity. There are three nighttime screenings of the New York Times-professed “touching and exquisitely rendered portrait,” at 8 p.m. Nov. 15 –17 and one daytime performance at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov 18. $10-$20. Wexner Center for the Arts, The Ohio State University, 1871 N. High St., Columbus. 614-292-0330,