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Our art guru explains how a local lady and her contributions to the arts inspired the Cincinnati Art Museum to honor her in a special way. Read on for more.


Alice Weston was awarded with the 2017 Cincinnati Art Award by the Cincinnati Art Museum.

Alice Weston received Cincinnati Art Museum’s 2017 Cincinnati Art Award for her lifetime contribution to the arts in Cincinnati and beyond. The museum honored Weston at its annual Director’s Circle Dinner on April 26.

Weston is a renowned Cincinnati contemporary art collector, educator, collaborator and artist, who, along with her late husband, Harris, created an ongoing legacy of philanthropy and support of the arts in Cincinnati.

Cameron Kitchin, the museum’s Louis and Louise Dieterle Nippert Director said, “The Cincinnati Art Museum is proud to recognize Alice for her decades of generosity and civic vision in the arts. Her commitment to the museums and cultural institutions of Cincinnati, and the artists of our time, has made an indelible impact on our city. Alice is an inspiration to us all.”

At the Cincinnati Art Museum, Weston is a current Trustee, a member of the Director’s Circle of the Founders Society, New Century Society, and Shareholder. Cincinnati Art Museum’s Gallery 303 is named The Alice F. and Harris K. Weston Gallery in honor of the Westons, who have supported the museum’s contemporary collection since the late 1980s.

Weston is a lifetime member of the Contemporary Art Center’s board of trustees and a member of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra’s board of overseers. She is namesake of the Alice F. and Harris K. Weston Art Gallery at the Aronoff, which has showcased contemporary art for more than 20 years.

In 1969, as an art patron of John Cage while he was the composer-in-residence at the University of Cincinnati, Weston prompted Cage to create his first visual artwork, Not Wanting to Say Anything About Marcel. Since that time, Weston has connected artists, collectors, composers, musicians and art patrons in innumerable ways. One of Weston’s landmark collaborative pieces, the video work Crystal Clues to the Sublime, is a new acquisition to the permanent collection of the Cincinnati Art Museum. Weston is a graduate of Vassar College and the University of Cincinnati’s DAAP graduate program.

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She uses oil paint as her medium and everything outdoors as her inspiration. Learn about this local artist and gallery owner making the city more colorful one painting at a time.


Karen Rolfes’ oil painting gallery is located in Madeira.

Cincy Chic: What inspires your oil paintings?
Karen Rolfes of Karen Rolfes Oil Paintings: Nature inspires my oil paintings! Flowers, trees, and water are my main themes. I like how the light reflects them. I can exaggerate the pigment of color and energy with my palette knife to make the painting interesting.

Cincy Chic: How long have you been painting?
Rolfes: I have been painting for 16 years. When I turned 40 I decided I wanted to paint and then I couldn’t stop and it lead into a business. But, most importantly, I truly love to paint.

Cincy Chic: Can you tell us more about your art background?
Rolfes: I’ve always been creative in different ways but was never formally educated to paint in school. My uncle, Robert Greiwe, and my grandfather, Gene Greiwe, painted so it must have been “in my blood.” I took fundamental classes from Greg Storer when I started and then I started going to workshops out of town. Learning from someone that I admire as an artist is so inspiring to me. If I can see something different that I take for granted each day I start growing in an unexpected way.

Rolfes gets much of her inspiration from nature.

Cincy Chic: Where can readers find your paintings?
Rolfes: I have a gallery/studio at 6808 Miami Avenue in Madeira. It is in a very old building which I think is unique since the exposed ceiling, original wood floors and original brick wall add character to a customer’s experience. Since I use a lot of color in my paintings it seems to radiate a happy place to be! I’m usually open Tuesday-Saturday 11-3 or by appointment.

Cincy Chic: Can you give us price points for your pieces?
Rolfes: Pricing is based on size. Small framed paintings framed range from $450. (8×10) to $1,300. Medium framed paintings range from $1,400 to $2,500. Large framed paintings range from $3,000. up to $15,500. (60×60).

Cincy Chic: Do you have any upcoming shows readers can check out?
Rolfes: I am currently in a show downtown at the YWCA. Ten paintings of mine are on display and for sale until June 15th. Part of the proceeds go to the YWCA. Giving back is very important to me. Sharing my passion is fulfilling in so many ways. Also, my gallery, Oil Paintings by Karen Rolfes, in Madeira, will be open Friday, June 16th, 5:00-8:00 for wine and cheese. RSVP to if you would like to come!

Cincy Chic: Where can readers go to learn more about you and your paintings?
Rolfes: My website,, has my biography, paintings for sale, and other information for readers to check out. I welcome anyone to call or email to chat about what they are looking for or to get my opinion in their particular space. I believe being a good listener is key. Developing a relationship with a client is critical to finding out someone’s needs. Being here at the gallery and working with people one on one is part of what is special about Oil Paintings By Karen Rolfes!

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    Inspired by the artistic beauty that makes Cincinnati so colorful, two local entrepreneurs set out to highlight and tell the stories of the city’s makers and creators. Learn more about this story-telling dynamic duo, the resource they’ve created, and how they’re now expanding its reach to neighboring cities.


    Five-Dots is an online-based publication that focuses on Cincinnati’s booming arts community.

    While it may not be obvious to everyone, Cincinnati is truly an art destination. To help others realize the density of the arts community, local artist and writer Megan Bickel and photographer Cassandra Zetta Niehaus launched a collaborative, non-profit style, bi-monthly online arts publication called Five-Dots.

    “We started Five-Dots in July 2016 with the intent of opening up the lines of conversation between artists, makers, curators, and the public,” explains Bickel.

    Cassandra Niehaus, Co-Founder of Five-Dots.

    Bickel and Niehaus use their publication to speak with a variety of members from Cincinnati’s creative community. “We speak about their work, process, ideas, concerns about their community, and workspace as a means to discuss greater general topics such as the politics of being a creative entrepreneur, the financial and social risks of taking up non-traditional work paths, and how it affects them for the better and worse,” adds Bickel.

    This dynamic duo was inspired to launch Five-Dots after encounter other online publications such as Two Coats of Pain by Sharon Butler in New York and In-the-Make by Klea McKenna and writer Nikki Grattan in addition to several arts podcasts, and seeing that man people outside the arts community in Cincinnati had no idea just how abundant the arts are in the city.

    “We wanted to create a platform that was engaging, stimulating, and thoughtful without being intimidating,” says Bickel. “We wanted to challenge without being confrontational.”

    Five-Dots started out as a project based out of Cincinnati, however, Bickel says it will continue to grow in the next months to include Louisville, Lexington, and other areas in the region.

    Megan Bickel, Co-Founder of Five-Dots.

    Today, Five-Dots published interviews on artists, printmakers, designers, and curators, thanks to the growth since since launching just over six months ago.

    This unique take on the artistic community in Cincinnati is one of the city’s best kept secrets. “We provide a service to creaties and non-creatives alike in that we bring the lofty, 20th century ideas of what an artist is and we bring it down to earth,” says Bickel. “We want the general public to see that being in the creative industry is like no other. The people we interview are their own product generators, marketers, publishers, shippers, accountants, and in general, badasses that own every single component of their practice.”

    The goal of Five-Dots is to introduce the general community the wonder, freedom, and obligation that comes along with being an artist, maker, and curator.  “Five-Dots hopes to encourage others to dive into what makes them happiest,” adds Bickel. “Because, at the end of the day, you are the biggest contribution to your community when you do what you do best,”

    You can expect to see content from Five-Dots continuing to be published in the coming months. Bickel says the two will launch a few interviews in the coming months with several international online galleries while hoping to open up the question, “what is regional within the context of the Internet?”

    Five-Dots can be found within the blog section of Made in Cincinnati and will soon be found through a co-launching program with AEQAI, in which Five-Dots will share selected relevant content from each other’s publications.

    Bickel adds that Five-Dots is also always taking submissions from creatives in the area, and those who are interested in submitting can visit to fill out the contact form.

    To learn more about Five-Dots, visit The two launches new interviews every first and final Friday of the month. You can also follow along on Instagram and Facebook for updates on launches and to learn more about the interviewees highlighted.

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    Just in time for holiday shopping, a new OTR-based shop opens to give local artists, crafters and designers a chance to sell their items. Keep reading for more.

    Featured is a new OTR-based
    Featured is a new OTR-based shop that features local artists, crafters, and designers.

    Between their degrees in Organizational Leadership and Public Relations, Jasmine Stone and Dominique Peebles are co-owners of “Featured,” a new storefront in Over-the Rhine.

    Featured is a shop where local artists, crafters, and designers have an opportunity to sell their items. “The business operates on small businesses or individuals placing their items,” says Stone. These artists provide paintings, jewelry, wooden rustic signs, monogrammed items, etc. The store also provides customized items, like pets, children, and adult clothing. A lot of people, nowadays, go online to purchase items, but the customers that go into Featured, love to see the items in the store in person before buying them. “We have a little bit of everything,” Stone says.

    Over-The-Rhine has been a great location for their shop. Over the past five years, Stone and Peebles have watched the area “develop into a great space where it attracts all different types of people,” she says. There are people who have lived in the area their whole life, or have moved to Over-The-Rhine from suburban areas to be in a downtown setting.

    “With our business revolving around different types of crafts, we wanted to have a diverse set of customers that would be around,” she says. “That’s why we picked Over-The-Rhine, because of the diversity that’s there. And also we wanted to contribute to the economic aspect of helping Over-The-Rhine to continue to develop.” Featured depends on small business and individuals placing their items into the space.


    Stone and Peebles’s shop has received a great response from the community surrounding it. Featured has even started offering monthly classes, like painting, crafting, etc. They enjoy “sharing the talent that we have within our shop with those in the community,” Stone says. Also, in the future, they are looking to expand into areas outside of retail, like food. “Something we’ve been working really hard to do is have a Featured kitchen. It may be where local chefs can come in and cook a meal, or where we could have all different kinds of local food products.”

    Stone has enjoyed seeing her and her partner’s dream idea come to life. She enjoys working one-on-one with artists, as well as finding new artists for the space. “I love going out there, curating and seeing, ‘What type of talent do we have in this community,’ meaning within the Tri-State area,” says Stone. “Then seeing, ‘How can we help this business do better?’”

    She believes that Featured is a unique addition to the Over-The-Rhine community because of the way that they source their art. The main goal of the business isn’t to earn a million dollars. “I mean, obviously, we want to be sustainable, but the only way that Featured is successful is by making other businesses successful,” says Stone. The ultimate goal for Featured is to open additional shops around the tri-state, preferably in Kentucky and Indiana where there are large amounts of people.

    To learn more about Featured, visit them at, on Facebook or Instagram.

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    A local artist is creating custom drawings so you can cherish your four-legged friends forever. Keep reading for the picture perfect details.

    Brandi Maples of Patou Pet Portraits offers custom drawings of your pet.
    Brandi Maples of Patou Pet Portraits offers custom drawings of your pet.

    Cincy Chic: What is Patou Pet Portraits?
    Brandi Maples, Founder of Patou Pet Portraits: Patou Pet Portraits is an art studio specializing in custom pet portraits created in your choice of graphite or colored pencils.

    Cincy Chic: What inspired you to start the art studio?
    Maples: I have always enjoyed drawing, being told as a child that I was a good artist. I never thought of it as more than a hobby – in fact, I went to graduate school for Art History, seeing myself as teaching art, rather than practicing it. The idea of drawing pets probably first came to me when our cat, Max, was dying. I used to sit with him at night to keep him company, and then decided I needed to draw him. I wanted to remember these quiet moments with him. Our pets are our family! A few years later, when we brought home a giant Great Pyrenees puppy (known as a Patou in France where they were first bred), I absolutely fell in love. As she grew into a gorgeous, long-haired white dog, I realized that she’d make such lovely drawings. In fact, pet portraits – either to celebrate a best friend, or to commemorate the life of a pet recently deceased, would be the ideal opportunity to bring together my interest in drawing and love of animals. Once I got started and did my research, I found that pet portraits (especially dogs) have been highly valued by the British for hundreds of years and that commissioning a drawing of your lap or hunting dog is as common as having family pictures taken is in America. I’d love to see this become a common practice here where we most certainly treat our pets as family.


    Cincy Chic: Who’s behind Patou Pet Portraits?
    Maples: I am the sole artist, which hopefully explains why clients sometimes have a decent wait when they order a custom drawing! I have a bachelor’s degree from Indiana University and my Master’s in Art History from the DAAP program at UC. I am a self-taught artist and have been focusing on colored and graphite pencils for the past couple of years. I live in Madeira with my husband, two daughters, my dog Daphne, and two house cats, Gabriel and Maggie.

    Cincy Chic: What is it that makes Patou Pet Portraits unique?
    Maples: While there are lots of studios that will take stunning photographs of your pet, there are not many that do custom drawings. There is something special about having an artist draw your pet. When I draw a pet I study many reference photos to examine every detail, from fur color to the curls on their ears, to the shape of their eyes. I talk with customers about their pet’s personalities, and then I see this personality expressed in the multiple pictures provided by the client. The drawing I create is done from a single photo selected by myself and the client. I like my drawings to have a high level of realism – for clients to be amazed that pencils can create something so life-like. But, unlike a photo, you can still see pencil marks. There is no doubt that this is a drawing that was given a huge amount of time and attention to detail.

    Cincy Chic: What types of services do you currently provide clients?
    Maples: I create custom drawings only at this point. Prints can be made of any of the drawings I’ve done, although I’d like to create original drawings for the purpose of printmaking in the near future. I’ve done drawings for anniversaries, birthdays, sympathy, and holiday gifts. Most recently I created a drawing to be used on a wine label. Gift certificates are available and are great because the recipient gets to be part of the process! I always send progress pics to customers so they can see their drawing evolve.

    Cincy Chic: What are your prices for a custom drawing?
    Maples: Currently my prices range from $175 (for a 5×7) to $250 (11×14) for a standard drawing. Because my work is custom, prices can fluctuate depending on the number of pets or a larger size.

    Cincy Chic: Is there anything new on the horizon for Patou Pet Portraits?
    Maples: Yes, I hope so! When I can find some time outside of commissions, I’d like to create some original dog drawings and have prints made for sale online and locally. I’m also playing with the idea of having pillows made from my drawings and possibly Christmas ornaments and mugs. I know I’d love to have my coffee in a Great Pyrenees Mug every morning!

    Cincy Chic: Where can readers go to learn more and follow along?
    Maples: Right now the best place to find me online is on Facebook and Etsy. I keep these updated frequently. A website is in the works and when it is up and running, all of my Facebook followers will be the first to know. I am always happy to get emails and will answer any custom portrait questions fairly quickly.

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    A local artist’s exhibit is highlighting the many talents of Cincinnati photographers. Keep reading for all the picture-perfect details.

    Ann Segal, Video Still from Conversations with Photographers/Under One Roof: From Bauhaus to Our House. Courtesy of the artist

    Cincy Chic: Can you tell us more about Foto Focus and your exhibit Under One Roof: From Bauhaus to Our House?
    Ann Segal, Artist behind Under One Roof: Under One Roof: From Bauhaus to Our House is a 25 minute video produced by myself about Anita Douthat and Cal Kowal, two local photographers who also happen to be married to each other. The exhibit is part of a series of videos about Cincinnati photographers that I created called Conversations With Photographers which premiered at Fotofocus 2014 at The Gallery Project. My interviews explore the photographers’ introduction and choice to pursue photography, educational background, photographic process, artistic inspiration, and stories from their lives and careers.

    Cincy Chic: What’s the inspiration behind your exhibit?
    Segal: The main inspiration behind Under One Roof: From Bauhaus to Our House was my participation in the Fotofocus 2012 exhibit called Photographers by Photographers at XU’s AB Cohen gallery in which 60 Cincinnati photographers drew names out of a hat and created portraits of each other. Having been a photographer for thirty years, I’m fascinated by the creative process and particularly how photographers navigate creative careers.

    Cincy Chic: Who’s behind the exhibit?
    Segal: I am the producer of Under One Roof: From Bauhaus to Our House and Scott Ginn and myself co-edited the video. Creative consulting by Jerry Malsh and Una Kariim.

    Cincy Chic: When and where can readers find the exhibit?
    Segal: Under One Roof/From Bauhaus to Our House will premiere Saturday, October 1, 2016, 2-4pm at Xavier University’s AB Cohen Center, 1658 Herald Avenue, Cincinnati, Ohio 45207 and run through October 28, 2016. Gallery hours are Monday-Friday 10am-4pm.

    Cincy Chic: What makes Foto Focus 2016 as well as your exhibit unique?
    Segal: Foto Focus is a unique event because it showcases internationally known photographers as well as local photographers, and thus broadens the audience for the later.

    Cincy Chic: How can readers check out Foto Focus 2016 and Under One Roof.
    Segal: Readers can participate by coming to the opening and/or visiting the AB Cohen Center during regular gallery hours to view the video. Feedback to is much appreciated. Teachers might want to purchase the video to show to students.

    In addition to the video, you can also see framed works by Anita Douthat and Cal Kowal at the AB Cohen Center. For additional information, contact Segal at For a sneak peek of Segal’s video, click here. To get a sneak peek of Cal’s video, click here.

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    Learn about the City Slicker Sundays event series on Fountain Square, hosting local creative businesses and Art on Vine for a special artistic market.

    061515SOCIALCincinnati is a hub of creative small businesses. The “City Slicker Sundays” event series on Fountain Square, which takes place every Sunday at noon, turns the heart of the city into an outdoor extravaganza showcasing these businesses, artists and designers.

    Aside from the huge jumbotron broadcasting the Reds games, as well as a variety of food and drink choices, City Slicker Sundays has even more in store this year. Art on Vine will set up its special art market during the first Sunday of each month on Fountain Square.

    Cincinnati native James Jenkins is the owner of Photography for the People and founder of Art on Vine, an art show that hosts events in multiple areas of Cincinnati. He and graphic designer Page Lansley are the creative minds behind this local art experience.

    “The vision for Art on Vine began in 2012 from a college class project while I was studying Business Law and Film Photography. At the time, Page Lansley was my class partner, and now she’s the Art on Vine Graphic Designer and a local artist,” explains Jenkins.

    The two wanted to create an experience that would be both meaningful and exciting for the city – something Cincinnati could be proud of as a sustainable outlet for artists to exhibit their work for years to come. Jenkins wanted to give artists “an opportunity to pursue their creative dreams or goals and a change to do what they love and make a living at it,” he explains.

    According to Jenkins, over the past three years, Cincinnatians have responded with high praise and a strong support for its events. In fact, the company had just eight artists to start with, now has nearly 50 local artists and have hosted 30 events in just the past two years.

    Not only does Art on Vine feature local artists, but they also give a large portion of their revenue to non-profit organizations in the community every month. “We love contributing to great non-profits that truly make a difference. Our first non-profit was Over-the-Rhine Community Housing (OTRCH),” says Jenkins. The contributions made to OTRCH help low-income residents get back on their feet so that they can succeed within the community. Art on Vine also makes donations to Cincinnati Senior Services and Pones, Inc.

    Art on Vine will host their art markets on Fountain Square now through the beginning of October, and will then move the market back to Rhinegeist Brewery for the colder months. During the City Slicker Sunday markets, Art on Vine has a multitude of unique artistic opportunities for the community to engage.

    Jenkins says these events allow attendees to not only enjoy the art, but also interact with the local artists. Having one-on-one encounters with artists is how to “find out what inspired them to create the work,” Jenkins explains. “The artist has the chance to meet and learn from consumers, and to share ideas that can inspire them to create the perfect and personal piece.”

    To learn ore about Art on Vine, visit, and visit for City Slicker Sunday event details and times for the Art on Vine markets.