Clifton Cultural Arts Center Has Got The Golden Ticket

Written by Chris Pasion, graduate assistant to The Graduate School.

The Clifton Cultural Arts Center (CCAC) is hosting a multidisciplinary community art show throughout the month of November. Billed as The Golden Ticket, this free to attend exhibition gives local, community artists the opportunity to showcase their work in a gallery without the significant financial barrier that is usually prohibitive in doing so. 

A wall at the exhibition that displays various paintings and photographs.

A short walk off campus to the east will place you in one of the area’s most-happening spots: Short Vine. Short Vine is a stretch of five blocks that breaks up Vine Street-proper and gives off a bustling small-town vibe. Each block is home to delicious restaurants, unique shops, or great venues to see live music (see Bogart's and TopCats). Despite being separate from campus, Short Vine is a very integral part of the University of Cincinnati community. One thing that is currently being served up on Short Vine is a community art show that sees nearly forty local artists of diverse backgrounds and creative outputs collaborating on a multidisciplinary exhibition. The space for this exhibition is provided by the Clifton Cultural Arts Center (CCAC).

The CCAC is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to enrich the community by providing a hub for creative learning and growth. They do so through classes, events, and exhibitions that are kept low-cost (many are often free) so as to remove financial barriers that may limit some from attending and taking part. Much of the CCAC’s programming is created with the goal of bringing access to the arts to underserved communities. CCAC’s mission is based on the belief that, in their own words, the “collective experience of creative and artistic expression brings together diverse communities and nurtures more inspired, more insightful children and adults.” The Golden Ticket event, which had a substantially lessened cost of submission for the featured artists than found at a more traditional gallery, is one way the organization is delivering on this mission. 

The opening reception of the Golden Ticket saw the winners of the 2019 Juried Art Exhibition announced; over $1,500 in cash prizes were awarded for the Best in Show, second, and third place, as well as given to recipients of the peoples’ choice, hosts’ choice, and honorable mention awards. The jurors consisted of reputable artists and art scholars from the Cincinnati area; among them were award-winning photojournalist Melvin Grier and the curator of the Contemporary Arts Center, Raphaela Platow

A painting of a mountain of trash.

"Offer" by Devan Horton (second place)

A painting of trash in the ocean.

"Dissolve Me" by Devan Horton (second place)

Each of the top three works that were selected by the jurors were impressive for different reasons, whether it be the message it was trying to convey or the means by which it was created. The third-place winner was a bleak scene of a post-apocalyptic city with bombs dropping from overhead. The second-place piece was a group of two different paintings from the same artist, each with a defined environmental message—first, a scene containing a large mountain of trash reaching up to the sky and second, a large mass of trash and waste reaching deep into the depths of the ocean. The first-place winner – who received $800 as well as a guaranteed solo gallery at a future time – made a much more open-ended work. The piece was an effecting multi-media painting that saw the artist overlay various newspaper-type artifacts with paintings of a few different characters, each wearing a different expression on their face (one examines the viewer as if they want answers from them) — this piece is one that should not be missed. The Golden Ticket exhibition will be open the rest of November until the CCAC takes it down to make way for the next show.

The first place winning painting from CCAC.

"Mistress and Marauders" by CT King (Best in Show)

These three artists may be the ones chosen by the jurors as their favorites, but there are two floors and nearly forty other artists for you check out over at Short Vine (the CCAC's honorable mention choice is UC’s very own Shakespeare expert, Jonathan Kamholtz). Go walk amongst their pieces and see which one you think really has the golden ticket. 

A few photographs of flowers

Various photographs by Jonathan Kamholtz (honorable mention)

Check out what other programs and events the CCAC has planned to see how you can take part in the community they are growing over on Short Vine and beyond.

(Hint: CCAC have another, non-juried arts show, Uptown and Around, that takes place in the summer and they currently are putting a call out to potential artists).