Monday, September 13, 2010


Over the weekend we took part in a tour of some of the new rehabbed apartments and condos in an area of Cincinnati called Over the Rhine.

I have a deep love for that part of town. I think I'm drawn to its story of fallen beauty. Once created for great things as the center of art and music and architecture. Then decades of neglect, ruin, crime, hardship, riots. Now 2/3 of its grand, ornate buildings stand abandoned....crumbling, filled with trash, peeling paint, boarded windows. It reminds me of OUR story---Creation, the Fall, finding beauty amongst ashes, hope of restoration.

I'm down there at least once a week. Over the Rhine is home to my favorite art store, my favorite coffee shop, Findlay Market, Shadeau Bread, Atomic #10, the creative arts school where we're thinking about sending Hudson next year.... These places are little pockets of beauty that have either weathered the dark decades or popped up recently as new signs of life.
Now a lot of those empty buildings are being bought and restored which is cool. But when you walk around down there, the tension between destruction and restoration, hope and despair, beauty and ugliness, life and death is tangible.
I think that's why I love it. It's very real. It stirs something in me that the suburbs don't. It makes me want to paint.
So who knows what our relationship with this place will be like in the future. We'll continue to go on dates there, support the businesses there, meet the people who live there, take our boys down there, and watch its transformation. And hopefully we'll be a part of that in some way or another : )

Music Hall where the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra plays...probably one of the biggest signs of what Over the Rhine used to be.

Hope your week is off to a good start!

Arian : )


Lesley said...

it looks beautiful! i'd love to live somewhere with lots and lots of history. and, i like the way you think about comparing it to "our story".

Tamia said...

Neat! I'm glad you came down for the event--I spend a LOT of time in OTR and it's nice to see other people show love.
BTW--did you do the illustration for the Stop Traffick Fashion tees? I wore the "Be loved, be free" in a photo shoot!


Arian said...

Hey Tamia, I DID do the Stop Traffick t-shirt illustration! So glad you're sporting it!

ichigo3lemon said...

I love these photos of Cincinnati! I try to go up there whenever I get a chance. I know where that area is but I haven't had a chance to explore it.

Brooke said...

I was so happy to read this blog post. I live in Cincinnati and for a while I was living downtown and I experienced the same feelings you do. It is sad to see the way things have fallen and what it used to be and how much has been forgotten about the once great city.... how much potential it still has. I am not aware tho of the event that was taking place?

Christina said...

Such beautiful pictures and stories... I live around Cincinnati and would like to make a trip. :)

I am new to your art (discovered it on Etsy) and wanted to tell you that I simply LOVE it. Way to join up with the redemptive work that God is doing in the world!

Pam said...

Stumbled upon your blog through Elsie's giveaway. I love your artwork!

I think it was kismet that I was drawn to your artwork and curious to see more and then read this post on OTR.

I just visited Cincy for the first time just over a week ago (I live in Seattle and my boyfriend lives in Clifton). The buildings and architecture of this city stole my heart. Especially the abandoned buildings.

I have actually been a little homesick for him and his amazing friends all day today. So thank you for sharing.