A Ride Through Cincinnati History

Eden Park and the Krohn Conservatory’s first greenhouses were strictly used for growing plants in the 1800s, but they also now serve as festive, interactive holiday floral displays the whole family can enjoy.

The annual holiday floral show is always special at the Cincinnati Krohn Conservatory, but Director of the Conservatory Andrea Schepmann thinks this year has a little extra something.

“This is a very special year for us because we have a number of new additions. These displays are all about traditions, especially family traditions and it’s a great way to bring all ages together,” she says.

The Cincinnati Park Board’s Krohn Conservatory Holiday Show this year celebrates the rich history of Cincinnati with “A Cincinnati Scenic Railway,” which features iconic miniature landmarks like the Taft Museum and Eden Park Spring House, all assembled and created with natural elements like pine cones, nuts, bark and sticks.

A “Cincinnati Scenic Railway” tells the history of Cincinnati by focusing on its architecture, culture and relevant landmarks. The train exhibit was put together by Implied Imagination, which has constructed all of these miniature buildings based on replicas of those in Cincinnati. Parents and kids can share stories about their community while gazing at the holiday landmarks and buildings that make Cincinnati memorable.

“This display has great holiday flowers and evergreens with a focus on buildings seen on the Cincinnati riverfront,” says Shepmann. “We have also put an interactive function as well so people who come see the exhibit can turn on lights, make railroad crossings go up and down and make the trains move. These are the really fun parts,” she says.

The Krohn Conservatory will also feature the new Schmalz Family Holiday Village, which will display an array of vintage holiday decorations and moving characters called Motionettes donated by the Schmalz family. This display will take some back in time to the holidays when they were kids while entertaining the younger ones.

“This is a feature that is really special to us. This used to be a part of their family’s tradition,” says Shepmann. “Their grandfather passed away and had been a collector of all things Christmas, even having a third of his house as a permanent Christmas display. He collected Motionettes that used to be displayed in windows like Macy’s and little vintage buildings which will also be featured in our display.”

Families looking to visit the Krohn Conservatory for fun can also expect other events to be going on during the holiday months.

“Throughout the holiday months there will be special events listed on our website including visits from Santa Claus, live crib of nativity scene, Krohn by candlelight with free holiday photos and other things that families will enjoy,” says Shepmann.

By Nicole Theodore

Art for Art's Sake (and Maybe Some Food)

Several years ago, Gallery CS13 hosted a potluck that allowed artists to pitch their ideas to the community for possible funding. Eric Vosmeier, producing artistic director for Know Theatre, attended that potluck and helped recruit people. Since then, Vosmeier hasn’t been part of a potluck. That changed in March of this year.

“I was tired of waiting around for the next potluck and I really wanted to bring this back to Cincinnati,” says Vosmeier. “This is a fun little community and I wanted to see all the ideas pitched by artists.”

Vosmeier brought the Artist Supper Club, which happens quarterly throughout the year, to the Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile, Jr./U.S. Bank Foundation for support. The Haile Foundation has supported the Know Theatre for several years and loved the idea of helping artists complete their projects.

You don’t have to be an artist to submit a project. All you have to do is offer a one-paragraph proposal at the potluck dinner. When you pitch the project, there are three things that Know Theatre is looking for: the project has to be executed within three months, it has to be a project that will be created for the community or helped by the community, and there has to be some artistic component to it.

Vosmeier is hoping that the Artist Supper Club will bring more artists out to the community and help enhance the power of the artist. This is a community-based project, so the idea that wins will actually help the community.

Folks who come to the event contribute $10 as well as an entrée or side dish. The $10 goes toward the money used to fund the artist’s project. The Haile Foundation then matches that amount. Throughout the dinner, the attendees will go over all the ideas the artists pitch. And at the end, everyone takes a vote on which project they would like to see funded and done for the community.

“We want people to come out and be a part of this. This is something that will help artists pitch ideas they have. It’s not easy to fund a project, but with the help of the potluck dinner, this is something that can help get their project started,” says Vosmeier.

Know Theatre has already put on three potlucks this year. The first and second one went well, while the third one had no winner since there were not enough people in attendance.

Matt Steffen, freelance designer in Northern Kentucky, was the winner of the second potluck dinner and saw his Cincy Photo Mob come to life. “It was a social experiment that I wanted to do visually. I wanted people to take photos of themselves in different locations. I wanted to know what they saw in this location and then they submitted the photos to me and I made a collage,” says Steffen.

Whoever wins at one of the events is required to return to the next one to give an update on how their project went and to give an evaluation of their own project.

“It was nice to have all the pieces done and physically finished. It’s reassuring that I wasn’t going down a path where no one cared about my ideas or art,” says Steffen.

Vosmeier hopes to continue working with these artists and help them complete their ideas. “This potluck dinner is thrilling to me. I hope to get enough people to this thing where we can have it monthly. I want to see it expand. And besides, it’s a potluck dinner. Artists love to eat.”

By Alex Weaver