Cincinnati and world, meet Art on the Streets. It’s the best thing that’ll ever happen to you.
Art on the Streets is an initiative event to build, support and relish in the beauty of art gone public, according to organizer Margy Waller. While our famous museums and hip music venues are the mainstay of such a top-notch artistic society, there’s just something compelling about taking it to the streets. The way Waller sees it, why barricade it within walls when you can expose it to the outside world for all passersby to see?
Waller, herself an avid ally of the arts, along with other community members involved, figured there was no better time for Art on the Streets to happen than when our streets would be the fullest — and not only just crowded, but with a congregation of so many different people all at once.
It had to happen in the footsteps of the 2012 World Choir Games.
“We wanted to make sure that all of the thousands and thousands of out-of-town visitors will leave with that experience of vibrant street art and animated sidewalks and parks, and that they take that back to the country they come from and talk about the art in Cincinnati and in the United States,” Waller said.
So with little delay, Waller and others, including Cincinnati’s ArtsWave, the city manager’s office, the city law department and artists, determined what it would take to allow Art on the Streets to happen in full force. “We had a very robust and interesting conversation about what the rules are for Cincinnati, and we concluded that what we needed to do was to make sure that everybody understood what the rules were because there seemed to be some confusion about that,” Waller said.
Though it’s difficult to imagine why anyone would want to hinder public art, there is some defiance dealing with the lawful elements of it. Straightening out those foggy kinks was essential for Art on the Streets. The organizers worked with the community to create a document called “Artists for Tips” that would comply with the needs of both the law and the artists. The seemingly contradictory worlds of both united under the same values. Imagine that.
“I was struck by not just how the artists were excited about showcasing the great art community we have here, but so were merchants and police departments and city officials,” Waller says.
Those attending the World Choir Games or even just walking the streets of Cincinnati can expect to see some form of art at any given moment: jugglers, hula hoopers, live painting, the Cincinnati Ballet, singer-songwriters. You name it, and it will probably be at Art on the Streets.
Though public art is happening concurrently with the World Choir Games, its weight on both the city and its visitors is anything but fleeting. “We would like it to be one of those things that is a legacy in the city of Cincinnati,” Waller says. It is meant to be a showcase of the liveliness Cincinnati glows with, and for that, we hope you enjoy your stay.