Long before my own move last fall, I considered Cincinnati’s art scene unusually migrational (artists routinely moving there and going away).  When Mark Harris emailed me the title “Once Upon a Time in the Midwest…,” I immediately recalled the first time I heard that Hudson of Feature Gallery had lived there for eight years, or that Lance Kinz and Susan Reynolds (both of Feigen Gallery fame) were once Cincinnati artists.  I thought it would be interesting to pay tribute to the scores of artists who have spent time there.  An especially acute situation, I often joked that there would be no artists left in town by the time my exhibition “The Cincinnati Experience” finally came to fruition.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t reach everybody on this list, but about two-thirds of the artists were eager to provide either a memorable artwork or some exhibition souvenir (performance prop, installation drawing, catalog, or exhibition announcement). 


Invited participants included:

Brandon Ballengée      Tulu Bayar         Terry Berlier           Carmel Buckley  Denise Burge              Lisa Ciolli           Jamie Dillon       Diane Fishbein                 Marc Fox              Stewart Goldman     Gregory Green    Chris Hammerlein            Mark Harris               Maiza Hixson          Hudson              Kim Humphries             Peter Huttinger            Lance Kinz         Elaine Lynch          Matt Lynch             Judy Ledgerwood     Perin Mahler     Annette Monnier       Nick Papparone          Rachel Rampleman   Susan Reynolds     Oren Slor            Sarah Stolar                  Tony Tasset                 Bill Test          Richard Wearn       Marion Wilson

Coincidentally, I just moved for the second time in a year over Labor Day weekend. The stacked boxes forming the platform’s walls and ledges were actually “in play” during that move.  As someone who has moved a lot, I’m probably more attentive than most regarding the influence of place and local lore.  As the congressional debates attest, migration deserves its own platform.

     One of Cincinnati’s most unusual features is that about 70% of its inhabitants have lived there all their lives, which is incredibly rare for a city of its size.  I will always remember Cincinnati as a place where people work 110% to make it a vibrant and exciting place to live.  Not surprisingly, most everyone on this list brought that same energy along with them, enabling them to impact their new communities.  Several have parlayed their passion for art into becoming art school professors (Ballengée, Bayar, Berlier, Ledgerwood, Mahler, Tasset, Wearn, and Wilson).  Many have become successful gallerists (Dillon, Hudson, Kinz, Monnier, Papparone, and Reynolds).  Only a handful are laying low.  No doubt, Cincinnati’s biggest draw is its art schools, which routinely lure transplants (Buckley, Burge, Fishbein, Goldman, Harris, and Lynch).  Not just a celebration of those who have come or gone, Migrations Platform seeks to provide art lovers the concrete benefits of movement, exchange, mixing it up, and remembering it all again and again.


Sue Spaid


September 2007