|"Over-The-Rhine" 18x24 Colored Pencil|
You can experience Cincinnati on many different levels, from many different viewpoints. There are some who think of "the city" as a myriad of traffic headaches and parking challenges. They will only travel the main thoroughfares, and will never see more than what can be viewed at a passing glance from across an eight-lane highway.
But if your errand happens to take you deeper into the city, you will begin to feel its pulse, the movement and energy that flows as the urban denizens go about their daily routines. There is a rhythm to the city life, that is deeply ingrained into every stone and timber of every structure that dwells along those streets. Some of it is newly built, some of it has been there forever; all of it coexists and functions as a greater whole; the city. Now follow the streets as they narrow and darken, and the energy begins to slow... then you will find the heart of the city. That original place where the first foundations were laid, by hands filled with hopes and dreams. Each brick placed with pride, and each detail a work of art. Those are the buildings that determine the character of this city. They tell a story of endurance and strength over the passage of time. Of dreams and promises that may or may not have been realized. Many have been neglected, some have been destroyed, and a lucky few have been restored. They have stood steadfastly as the city aged... silently observing the progress that flowed through them and around them.
The Pendleton Art Center was built in 1909, and stands eight-stories tall, in the heart of Cincinnati's historic district, known as Over-The-Rhine. I'm not supposed to tell you this... but I was given special permission, and the secret key, to go up onto the roof one day. I spent a good hour up there all by myself, camera in hand. I could see every inch of the city, the old and new, the houses dotting the hillsides, the river flowing quietly alongside... the older buildings directly below me, and the newer ones surrounding them and fading into the distance. It was all there before me... all the stories from the past to the present, and a glimmer of the future to come.