Cincinnati Art Scene
Explore Cincinnati,  Travel

Discover The Art Scene In Cincinnati: An Art Week Adventure

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The Cincinnati art scene is remarkable, with intriguing galleries, spectacular murals, and diverse educational programs. Wander the corridors in one of the oldest art institutes in the United States, or take in architecture designed by Zara Hadid.

The Art Scene in Cincinnati is great!
The Art Scene in Cincinnati is great!

Many locals are unaware of what a rich art history Cincinnati boasts. In this guide, we will showcase the best spots to see art in Cincinnati, where you can create your own and a few art projects you can do from the comfort of your home.

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Plan An Art Week/ Art Day

Designate a day or even a week to celebrate the Art Scene in Cincinnati. Hands-On experiences are often the best way to learn, so get out into the galleries, pack a lunch, or support a local eatery.

Planning Tip: Many Art Museums offer special events or programs for kids or adults. A perfect example is Baby Art Tours at the Cincinnati Art Museum. You must register for these events in advance, or you may not have a spot.

Cincinnati Art Scene: Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park
Cincinnati Art Scene: Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park

Preparing For Art Week

One of the main reasons I love Art Week is it is free and requires as little or as much preparation as you are willing to put in. Art can be created out of anything, even nature. Therefore, there is no stress about putting together the ideal art project.

I love incorporating books into our weekly theme, so here are a few excellent resources for kids to check out from your local library or order online to keep in your permanent collection.

 Here are a few Art books I recommend: 

Usborne Art Treasury 

Anna At The Art Museum

ABC’s of Art 

The Story of Paintings: A History of Art for Kids

Download Our FREE Printable Art Museum Scavenger Hunt

Grab Your Art Supplies

One of the beauties of art is that it can be created out of anything. If you don’t have a budget for art supplies, go outside and find leaves, sticks, and rocks to make nature art! For art week, I love to have a spot where I have art supplies readily available for my daughter to create.

Art Week Cincinnati: Mad Potter
Art Week Cincinnati: Mad Potter

Depending on your child’s age, your art spot may look a little different than mine, but I love having something out where they can create, build, or design.

Here are a few art supplies to include in your art spot:

Creating Art at CAC
Create your own sculptures

Art Supplies Under Two Years Old:

One of the best things at this age is gathering random supplies from around the house that they can build with to create their own sculptures. Think toilet paper rolls, empty shoe boxes, cans, and items that are not a hazard or that they can choke on.

Other great art items are:

Honey Sticks Crayons for Toddlers 

Light Up Doodle Board-No Mess

Art Supplies for 3 – 4 years 

As children get older, they can do more art projects with supervision, such as painting and using dot markers. We share a few of our favorite art supply items for this age below:

Washable Paint 

Dot Markers 

Assortment of Craft Supplies 

Recommended Art Supplies
Recommended Art Supplies

Art Supplies For 5+ years old 

The possibilities are endless for art as children get older. I recommend putting various craft supplies out at this age and seeing what they create independently. My daughter ended up making Mt. Vesuvius on a whim!

Crayola Super Art Coloring Kit 

Construction Paper 

DIY Suncatchers 

As the kids age, hone in on their interests and get crafts that will spark their interest, whether it is origami, cross stitch, crochet, or watercolor, for example.

Best Spots To Experience The Cincinnati Art Scene

Cincinnati Art Museum

Housing over 67,000 pieces of artwork makes the Cincinnati Art Museum a destination, drawing admirers from all walks of life. Being one of the oldest art museums in the United States, they have mastered the unique skill of creating experiences to accommodate visitors of varying abilities.

The REC center at the Cincinnati Art Museum
The REC center at the Cincinnati Art Museum

Spend time over at the REC, an interactive space for families to discover the Cincinnati Art Museum’s collection in a fun and safe manner. The Art Museum offers various programs and events throughout the month.

A few of our favorite programs at the Cincinnati Art Museum:

One of our favorite programs has been interactive baby art tours designed to engage and spark the baby’s interest. The tours are designed for ages 0-2 and provided at no cost. A themed tour is offered once a month, providing new and intriguing exhibits and experiences.  

On the first Saturday of the month, the Cincinnati Art Museum hosts an interactive and educational family play day focusing on a particular theme.

Cincinnati Art Museum
Cincinnati Art Museum

This program has been designed with the whole family in mind! Performances, artist demonstrations, storytelling, scavenger hunts, tours, and hands-on art-making activities are a few of the activities. 

Enjoy an adult’s night out at Art After Dark! On the last Friday of the month, the Art Museum remains open for an evening that features live music, specialty cocktails, and docent-led tours through the museum. The best part is it’s completely free!

Family Art Days At The Cincinnati Art Museum
Family Art Days At The Cincinnati Art Museum

Planning Tip: If you plan on grabbing lunch at the Terrace Cafe inside the museum, make a reservation. Walk-ins are often not accepted or have over an hour’s wait time.

Remember to do the Art Climb! 

Discover more about the Cincinnati Art Museum’s excellent family programming in these related articles:

Cincinnati Art Museum Accessibility Tours: Including Autism Family Explorations and Touch Tours.

Cincinnati Art Museum Baby Art Tour

Family First Saturdays 

Craft Lab Milford

Have you ever wanted to try splatter painting? Electric spin art? For an excellent and unique way to experience art books at a time at the Paint Playground at the Craft Lab in Milford! The paint playground allows you to create your own amazing work of art on your canvas by throwing paint, dripping paint, and even using squirt guns!

Where to create art in Cincinnati
Where to create art in Cincinnati

The artwork our daughter created is now hanging in her playroom! We love this spot because kids of all ages are welcome to participate. Parents may need to join if their little one cannot follow instructions and needs assistance.

Planning Tip: You pay by the canvas. I recommend doing a second one for $5, as kids will love this experience!

Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center

The Creativity Center and UnMuseum are on the 6th inside the Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center (CAC). The CAC is conveniently located downtown, right across from Nada. The official arts ambassador, Metrobot, will greet you as you arrive! Admission to the museum and its galleries is free to the public.

Parking was relatively easy as multiple parking garages were located near the museum. Street parking is available, but that requires speed, agility, and the luck of the Irish. The museum does have unique hours, so be sure to check them out before you go on their website.

Metrobot in Cincinnati
Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center

Upon entering the CAC, you will be welcomed by the receptionist, who will be happy to help guide you to the UnMuseum or any other gallery that you may be looking for. A cafe is inside the lobby, which is ideal for snacks because food and drink are prohibited in the galleries.

There are water fountains located throughout the building. After filling hungry tummies, a huge elevator will zip you and your entourage up to the Creativity Center, or you can take the stairs.

Take A Murals Tour

Brightly colored murals are scattered throughout Cincinnati, and trust me, each local has their favorites. Walk through historic streets and explore Cincinnati’s impressive collection of downtown-area monumental murals by going on a murals tour. A tour is one of the best ways to appreciate the Cincinnati Art Scene while seeing the city!

Planning Tip: Download the self-guided Mural and Installation Map App from ArtWorks.

While checking out the murals, don’t miss out on these fun things to do downtown: 

  • Washington Park (Playground and splash pad for younger kids)
  •  Take a ride on the Cincinnati Streetcar, the Connector.
  •  Visit Smale Riverfront Park 
  •  Swing into the Contemporary Arts Center
  •  Grab a scoop of Graeter’s Ice Cream on Fountain Square
  •  Add in your own Cincinnati Food Tour as you see the murals.

Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park

Intriguing sculptures dot the hillsides as shady trees entice guests to enjoy a leisurely picnic under their branches. Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park is a hidden gem combining art and nature in one incredible outdoor gallery in Hamilton, Ohio.

Overlook Patio: Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park
Overlook Patio: Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park

Take advantage of the Ancient Sculpture Museum that transports guests to faraway lands as exotic antiquities bring history to life. Stroll through lush gardens or lace up your hiking boots to explore the Park’s many trails.

Pyramid Hill offers a variety of family-friendly events, including a Summer Series For Kids! It is one of the best places to experience the Cincinnati Art Scene, even if it is a little ways off the beaten path.

Plan on spending at least half a day, if not more, exploring the Park. After the Park, venture to downtown Hamilton to grab a beer at Municipal Brew Works or enjoy a lovely dinner alfresco at Tano Bistro.

Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park
Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park

Planning Tip: Pack a picnic to enjoy at Overlook Patio. It is one of the most scenic spots in the Park.

Taft Museum Of Art

A hidden gem right in the heart of downtown Cincinnati is the Taft Museum of Art. This museum is unique because it is housed in one of the most historic homes in the city.

As a child, I remember the rumors that swirled around this museum that President William Howard Taft was born here and that he got stuck in a bathtub while I toured the hallways on a class field trip.

Visiting as an adult, I now hold a different appreciation for the museum, or I may listen better now. You quickly discover that President William Howard Taft was born in Cincinnati but not at the Taft Museum but at 2038 Auburn Avenue in the Mount Auburn Historic District of Cincinnati, Ohio.

Those rumors about the bathtub? No one can prove the man was ever stuck in one, but we can always imagine. After an extensive renovation, the museum proudly displays its gorgeous collection of European, Chinese, and American Art. Along with its famous Rembrandt “Portrait of a Man Rising From His Chair.”

Planning Tip: The museum does charge admission, but look for the free family fun days!

21 C Hotel Museum

An ever-changing, ever-rotating museum is the Contemporary Art Museum, found inside the 21 C Hotel in downtown Cincinnati. The galleries are full of invoking and intriguing art by top contemporary artists. For a splurge, stay overnight to experience the 21 C Hotel!

Personal Preference: Pass on Metropole, a part of the hotel, and venture across the street to Sotto, Nada, or Boca.

The Mad Potter

A fun activity to do with the kids or for a girl’s night out is to paint your own pottery at the Mad Potter. Choose from hundreds of pottery pieces, including bowls, mugs, figures, banks, and more. We went to the cutest birthday party, the Mad Potter, and the kids thought they were so special to choose their pottery piece to paint.

Mad Potter In Mason
Mad Potter in Mason, Ohio

Planning Tip: You will have to go back to the Mad Potter after a few days to retrieve your finished pottery after they put it in the kiln.

Queen City Clay

Adults will get to sculpt their clay creations with a class from Queen City Clay. Whether it is a date night idea, a girl’s night, or simply a class you have been dying to take, Queen City Clay offers many classes.

Planning Tip: The minimum age is seven years old, and kids 12 and under must be accompanied by an adult.

Fun Art-Themed Activities

Create Your Own Gallery At Home

We love creating our art gallery at home. After your child has created many art projects, hang them up in a room or hallway as their own personal gallery. Tour the gallery and have your child explain each piece.

Tip: Be sure to write their art description and title down on the back of any art you plan on keeping.

You can always take your art gallery to the next level by inviting family and friends over to see the gallery and serve sparkling water or juice as guests arrive.

Art Week Activities

Paint Rocks For Your Neighborhood

The Kindness Rock Project is a great art project that kids of all ages will love. Kids of all ages will paint rocks and leave them around them for others to find and collect. We have quite the collection, with one of our favorites having flowers and another with Snoopy!

Collecting rocks can be just as fun as painting them, so you get two activities in one. That’s a win in my book!

Create A Nature Collage

Venture outside to collect small nature items: sticks, petals, leaves, feathers, etc. Glue or stick on a piece of paper. You can also place a sticky contact paper in a frame, sticky side up. Then place items on the sticky side.

Play-Doh Sculpting

For a fun and easy activity, pull out the Play-Doh to create your fun sculptures. Give ideas, such as having them create their favorite animal or rolling out a snake. Depending on how brave you are, incorporate different colors of Play-Doh creations, even if they all end up together in a lovely ball of brownish-gray at the end.

Don’t forget to get your FREE ART MUSEUM SCAVENGER HUNT below.

Discovering the Art Scene in Cincinnati: Art Week is our Second post as part of our Explore Cincinnati With Kids Series. For more fun things to do in Cincinnati with kids, check out these related articles:

Top Spots to Go Creeking In Cincinnati: Creek Week 

19 Unique Things To Do In Cincinnati 

6 Free Indoor Play Areas in Cincinnati 

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Art week Guide In Cincinnati