Renovations, recreations and relocations occurring in downtown Cincinnati are captured visually at the Wash Park Art Gallery titled, “RE.” As a building with a house fire in its history, this space also represents its own reconstruction.
Holly Doan Spraul, owner of the gallery, said that it represents the culture of Cincinnati.
“When they started revitalizing the park, the tagline was ‘Washington Park is the cultural heart of the city,’ obviously a nod to Music Hall and the symphony, so I thought if you’re calling this the cultural heart of the city, there needs to be some visual art represented,” Spraul said.
She has since been on a mission to prove that artists have a place in the economy. Consequently, the interconnections between art and tangible life flood the visual representations in this cozy space. Here, visitors are simultaneously in touch with Cincinnati’s industrial past, its colorful present and its promising future.
This exhibit is an inside look into how the city has transformed historically, while expressing the present changes that drive its future and community. One photo taken by Tony Jones — a photojournalist known for his work at the Cincinnati Enquirer, titled “Union Terminal” — illustrates the classic austerity of the train station built in 1933. Since then, the building — once on the demolition list — has been restored and is expected to reopen this month to serve as a museum and cultural space.
The stunning photos of streetcars, buses, abandoned subway stations and even street views of Over-The-Rhine filled the gallery and showed the city as if in a constant, blazing motion.
The theme of “Re-Creation” is present in the prominent artist of the exhibit, Matthew Zory. Former bassist of the San Diego Symphony, Zory and his photojournalistic work follows the renovation of Music Hall. No angle, gritty or grandiose, escapes his expansive vision of this recreation of space.
His photos depict coppered windows peering down at traffic, construction workers surrounded by red sparks and even panoramic infrastructure. It is no surprise that he has dedicated an entire book to this overhaul titled, “Through The Lens: The Remaking of Cincinnati’s Music Hall.” The book is available for preorder.
Not every piece on display is directly connected with the city of Cincinnati, but they all celebrate the mixing of elements to create something never visualized before. One artist, Cedric Michael Cox, is known for incorporating musical elements into his paintings.
“A change in rhythm or pitch can be compared to a shift in line, brush stroke, value and pattern,” Cox said.
After leaving this exhibit, one cannot help but feel a profound connection to the city — almost like a deeper understanding of it.