Career Validation

To read the original story from the Delaware Gazette, click here.

Jonathan Juravich called the last few months a “whirlwind” after he found out about his nomination for the 2018 Ohio Teacher of the Year award in May.

“The whole thing has been very much a process,” said the Olentangy Liberty Tree Elementary School art teacher. “… It’s been such a blur.”

He was surprised every time he was notified that he made it the next round. But he kept that astonishment to himself, not even telling his family and friends he’d been nominated.

“When do you tell someone you’ve been nominated for this award?” he said.

But the secret was out when the Ohio Department of Education announced that Juravich was Teacher of the Year for the State Board of Education District 6 and one of five finalists for the statewide recognition last week.

The state superintendent will announce the recipient of the award this fall.

“The Ohio Teacher of the Year program recognizes influential and inspiring educators who demonstrate some of the things I love most about teachers: they take our system to higher heights and continue the path toward excellence,” State Superintendent of Public Instruction Paolo DeMaria said in a press release.

The Ohio Department of Education invited school districts to nominate teachers for the District 6 award. Liberty Tree Principal Terri Caton was the one who submitted Juravich’s name for consideration. She said he has the ability to get people involved. She noticed this trait about six years ago when he spearheaded efforts to raise money for a student diagnosed with cancer.

“I think he can be a good principal one day,” Caton said.

State Board of Education member Dr. Antoinette Miranda worked with a committee of educators, parents and business leaders to select Juravich as the recipient.

“Mr. Juravich exemplifies what truly great teachers are made of. He is creative, compassionate, active in our community, incredibly talented and he truly cares about each student,” she said in a press release.

Juravich said he was humbled by the recognition.“It’s just a validating experience,” he said.

Amy Juravich said the word “proud” does not begin to describe how she feels about her husband’s accomplishment.

“When we found out that he was a finalist we were definitely surprised — we needed to pinch ourselves and ask ‘is this really happening?!’ But when I truly sit back and think about it — I’m not surprised at all,” she said. “Jon is a great teacher and I am beyond excited that others are hearing more about him now.”

Amy added that he’s a great father of his two children: Josie, 4, and Ari, 5 months.

“Jon is the type of person who puts his heart and soul into everything he does and he doesn’t expect recognition in return. I always tell him how amazing he is and what a great teacher,” she said. “… It is wonderful that a group at the state level sees in him what I see every day.”

In 2005, Jonathan Juravich graduated from Otterbein University with an art teaching certificate and joined the Olentangy Local School District. Since then he traveled between four different elementary schools until he became a permanent art teacher at Liberty Tree in 2007.

But Juravich is still a traveler of sorts as he engages with elementary school, middle school, and college-aged students once a week during the school year. After teaching young artists at Liberty Tree, Juravich walks over to the attached Hyatts Middle School to coach its cross country and track and field teams.

He then drives over to Otterbein for a weekly course to instruct future art teachers about elementary and secondary art education in the fall and spring. “It’s a really nice balance,” he said.

JonJuravich received his master’s degree in art education from the Art Academy of Cincinnati in 2011.

In addition, Juravich often collaborates with the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. Such collaborations include ZooTeen art camps, consultations, and being a guest artist at events. Some of those activities involve having armadillos, snakes, penguins and turtles walk across a painted canvas. Juravich said it’s a way to bring conservation into the discussion. “It’s cool that a penguin walks across the surface, but there’s a much deeper meaning,” he said.

Juravich said he’s considered moving up to an administration role, but said he loves his current profession.

“I value arts education and what it does for my students. It gives them self confidence (and) opens their eyes,” he said.

Gallery images:  “The “Jackalope” “Tea Kettler” and “Ball Tailed Cat” are from a series where I collaborated with my four year old Josie (she was three at the time). I taught her about Lumber Jack Folklore and then she would paint the creatures she learned about and I would create backgrounds and context. We are working on a new series together now,” said Juravich.

This story was originally published by the Delaware Gazette.

AAC Community Education, Eyeball Luminaries

Eyeball Luminaries

Students participating with AAC CE’s Programs for Schools at Dater High School were honored to join the BLINK Festival Parade, collaborating to create faux stained-glass Eyeball Luminaries, using translucent spray paint and stenciling techniques, while exploring themes of self-discovery through iconography, and learning about the science of the eye and light refraction.
Programs for Schools partners with area schools to provide educational opportunities for students to participate in hands-on visual art activities integrating academics, 21st century skills, and college and career preparedness. In 2017, external funding continues to allow AAC CE to provide outreach to Greater Cincinnati Area school through Programs for Schools, celebrating 25 years of impact made to schools in need. We thank the following: the Charles H. Dater Foundation, the Nellie Leaman Taft Foundation, The P&G Fund of the Greater Cincinnati Foundation, and our partnered school districts.


Ezra No vid

Cardboard in Your Mouth

Ezra Cline, a freshman at the Art Academy, spent his summer working with ArtWorks to craft light-based kinetic sculptures for the BLINK parade. The team created three floats, a rabbit head, a top hat with rotating faces, and a flower train. Ezra also led mask-making workshops for the parade. We sat down for some coffee and talked about life at the Art Academy and his summer of BLINK.



Hey Ezra, so how’s school going, is college life all that you dreamed it would be? 

It is all that I dreamed. Being a freshman is pretty fun at the Art Academy. I’ve always wanted access to all these supplies and resources that were just unavailable to me in high school.

Yeah and you’re a bit of a night owl, aren’t you? Have you been spending a lot of time in the building since it’s open to students 24 hours?

Yep, it’s so nice. I get everything done here at night, and very early in the morning, and sometimes I’m here for no real reason at all.

Haha, well maybe you can help me out with a potential series I’m wanting to do at the Academy. The school can be a pretty interesting place at night and I want to try and capture that. I’m thinking of calling it, “Night Owls” or “Nightcrawlers”.

Oh yeah, that’s when all the cool people come out.

So we met in 2016 when I was your teacher on the “New Lines” mural series with ArtWorks. I remember during some routine icebreaker question we asked, “What do want to do for your career”. I believe you said you were thinking about becoming an engineer, but you also mentioned that you find yourself going through a constant identity crisis. So I’ve just been curious about what made you decide to pursue art?

Well, I think everyone should be going through an identity crisis all the time, especially when you’re deciding to be an artist. I’ve flip-flopped between engineer and artist for a lot of my life and honestly, the choice was sort of made for me when I decided not to put much work into my mathematics. Kind of process of elimination but I would say that it was definitely more of a choice.

Do you have an idea of what your focus will be here at the Art Academy?

Major wise I think I’m going to be doing more sculptural things. I think I identify as a maker more than an artist or an engineer.

Cool, let’s talk about Blink then.

Yes, let’s talk about BLINK.

Were you excited when you found out you were placed on the BLINK project?

So much. That was my number one. I was looking at the list of projects and BLINK was one of the only non-mural projects, but also something that was really freaking cool. It was exactly the sort of work that I want to do.

At that time I was working for ArtWorks and was a part of the team placing students to the projects. I remembered the intricately detailed cardboard sculpture you created the summer before of the New Lines studio. I have to say it was a no-brainer to place you on a sculptural project. 

Yeah, it’s always good to put a little bit of cardboard into people’s mouths to convince them to hire you.

Cardboard in the mouth, that’s a great strategy.

So there were three BLINK floats?

Yes, we ended up creating a rabbit, a top hat with faces, and a flower train float.

How did you come up with the idea for the floats?

The first week of the BLINK project was dedicated to ideation and planning. We were each given a different copy of Alice in Wonderland to draw inspiration from, but we all wanted to move away from that. You can still see the influence of it in the floats but we tried to take it beyond that.

An apprentice named Joey, that ended up leaving for another job, had actually come up with the idea for a floating rabbit head and I fell in love with it. So after he left I decided that I really liked this idea and I had to convince the group that this was one of the floats we needed to start building. So I took a photo of his sketch, and that night I created a model of the rabbit head. I brought it to work the next day and that propelled the project into the direction of the rabbit.

Sounds like you put some cardboard in their mouth?

Yeah, just put some cardboard in their mouth. Just fill their heads up with cardboard, that’s the sales pitch.

The rabbit also has mechanics to it, right? Was that difficult to figure out?

We were hired to create three-dimensional kinetic sculptures that would move down the street in the dark and delight people on the sidelines. We had to introduce elements of animation and mechanics to it so it was more of a puppet. It’s a weird line we kind of blurred between sculpture and puppet.

We made it so the rabbit head can move its eyes around, flap its ears, and open the mouth. All the wiggle room that we needed to kind of make it wiggle. Those words didn’t make sense.

The wiggle room to make it wiggle, it makes sense to me.

The rabbit head was originally static and as we were working with the materials, PVC piping and sheet plastic, the movement just sort of happened organically. It was a learning process, we didn’t know what we could get those materials to do or move like, so it all happened on its own.

The rabbit head was yourself, Abigail Smart, and Grayson Draper?

Yes. Abigail ended up switching over to the hat project.

The Hat float is wild. Do you have a favorite?

It’s hard to pick a favorite of the three floats. We built a giant rabbit head, the hat float, which is a top hat with an exquisite corpse-like face element to it. All the rings on the hat rotate to create different faces. The last one is a flower train, which was the biggest one, longest one, and hardest one to execute.

What parts are being illuminated?

We designed them to basically be giant lanterns. Illuminating the whole sculpture with an ambient glow allowed us to focus more on the mechanics of the float.

How are they moving? The last time we talked there were a few ideas out there.

Inside the rabbit head, we were planning on having a wheelchair. One person would sit in the chair and be the puppeteer while another could push the chair to navigate. As the weeks went on we realized that we were not going to get a wheelchair. In the heat of the moment, Grayson and I chopped up an old shopping cart that we found.

So how is it moving now that you’re using a chopped up shopping cart, is it being pulled?

The whole thing is on caster wheels and we’re pushing it from the inside.

Oh, so sort of like a Flintstone car?

Yes, we’re Flintstoning it.

Who will be inside the rabbit head?

I think it’s just going to be me and Grayson in there.

What was the most challenging part of working on this project?

The most challenging part of the project was experimenting with different materials and fixing problems as they arose. If a pipe buckled we would need to fix that on the spot and fix it in a way that wouldn’t damage the rest of the structure. Plastic wasn’t the easiest material to work with but it was an efficient and a cost-effective way to construct really amazing looking floats.

Alright so let me ask you an obvious question to follow up, what was your favorite part of the project?

The first time that we put the float on wheels. When we attached it to the casters and got it moving it was loads of fun. The whole team gathered around to see. It was sort of funny but also surreal. There was a tremendous sense of accomplishment.

Sort of a proud parent moment?

It was like witnessing my kid’s first steps.

I asked you earlier what made you choose art as a career path, so what made you go with AAC?

I took a tour a couple years ago and looked into the different studio and shop spaces and kept thinking “wow I could do so much with all the resources in this building”. That was the primary factor. I spend a lot of time planning projects but never got to execute them, I think being in this environment where I can come in 24 hours a day to work on stuff in those studio spaces is just a dream come true.



$375,000 in New Scholarships to Art Academy of Cincinnati

To view more photos from the event, click here.

The Art Academy of Cincinnati announces two new transformational scholarships: the Carson E. Smith Scholarship and the William E. Villa Scholarship. Smith and Villa were both graduates of the Art Academy of Cincinnati and remembered the school in their end-of-life plans.

William E. Villa enrolled at the Art Academy in 1963 and studied drawing and painting, sculpture, visual techniques, graphic design, art history, and color theory. While a student, he worked as a photography lab technician. As a graduate, he began his career as a television news photographer for WKRC. He filmed, edited and produced local news stories.

In 1970, just four years after graduation, he moved to San Francisco and worked in the production of secondary school educational films. He was a television production specialist for the US Department of Housing and Urban Development and a recipient of a national HUD photography award.

In 2000, he made his home in Kula, Hawaii. Photography served him well in his profession. Throughout his life, he stayed connected to his creative, artistic side, especially regarding the Art Academy training in graphic design and color theory. He continued to paint and draw; he created stained and fused glass. Just before his untimely death in 2010, William had plans to create an art studio.

Carson Smith graduated from the Art Academy of Cincinnati in 1957 with a degree in Design and Portraiture. As an Art Academy student, Carson met William Henschel, an Art Academy instructor and Rookwood Pottery artist, who recognized Carson’s talent and helped him get a summer job at Rookwood Pottery that lasted for many years both before and after his service in World War II. He earned the Purple Heart for his service to his country during the Okinawa invasion.

His career embraced beauty. He created intricate three-dimensional designs for cigarette cases, pocket watches, and cosmetic cases. Smith was known for his designs at Wadsworth Watch Case Company and Helena Rubenstein Cosmetics. It was not unusual to see celebrities and royalty using items he designed.

His most notable design was the Cadillac emblem – a shield with traditional figures of heraldry. While the emblem has evolved over the years, his design is still the foundation of what Cadillac continues to use.

Until his retirement in 1990, Carson worked as an interior designer at Greiwe Interiors, where he was recognized with a national award for the original Pigall’s restaurant in downtown Cincinnati.

The Scholars Celebration, October 3, 5-6:30 at the Art Academy, will recognize significant scholarships and the students who receive them. Art Academy students received financial support from

  • AAC Alumni Scholarship
  • AAC Portfolio Awards
  • John E. & Mary Ann Butkovich Scholarship,
  • Cincinnati Art Club Scholarship,
  • John Fisher/Leonard Sive Traditional Painting Scholarshp
  • Franklin Folger Memorial Trust
  • Gary Gaffney/Jacqueline Wollman Award
  • Omer T. Glenn Scholarship
  • Edie & Charley Harper Scholarship
  • Helms Trust Purchase Award
  • Fannie Isidor Scholarship
  • Carolyn & Julius Magnus Family Award
  • John & Judy Ruthven Scholarship
  • Carson E. Smith Scholarship
  • William E. Villa Scholarship
  • Bertha Langhorst Werner Scholarship
  • Stephen H. Wilder Scholarship

Art Academy 2017 Scholarship Recipients are

  1. Andrea Bacca, Bristol,VA
  2. Cody Bechtol, Cheviot, OH
  3. Caroline Bell, Turpin Hills, OH
  4. Bruce Bennett, St. Paul, MN
  5. Kaitlin Burke, Hudson, OH
  6. Lauren Castillo, Greensboro, NC
  7. Mandy Clements, Greenville, NC
  8. Madison DeAtley, Loveland, OH
  9. Joseph DiMario, Cincinnati, OH
  10. Taylor Dorrell, Westerville, OH
  11. Claire Flath, West Chester, OH
  12. DJ Gathers, Madisonville, OH
  13. Zach Gibson, Covington, KY
  14. Sydney Greene, Union, KY
  15. November Hardy, Madisonville, OH
  16. Sam Holloway, Carmel, IN
  17. Jen Horsting, Loveland, OH
  18. Abriljoanna (April) Huerta, Fairfield, OH
  19. Aubre Lightner, Evanston, OH
  20. Noel Maghathe, White Oak, OH
  21. Nicole McClure, Tulia, TX
  22. Hailee McElroy-Herin, Clifton, OH
  23. Nikki Nesbit, Newport, KY
  24. Jack Nichols, Madisonville, OH
  25. Sabrina Pachla, Warren, MI
  26. Cecilia Padilla, Fairfield, OH
  27. Hannah Parker, West Price Hill, OH
  28. Audrey Patterson, Mount Juliet, TN
  29. Cody Perkins, Hebron, KY
  30. John Platt, Walnut Hills, OH
  31. Sydney Rains, Covington, KY
  32. Tez Robertson, Over-the-Rhine, OH
  33. Kane Sargent, Lucasville, OH
  34. Carly Simendinger, Lebanon, OH
  35. Vera Thornbury, Price Hill, OH
  36. Tiffany Tran, Verona, WI
  37. Savannah Vagedes, Ludlow, OH
  38. Sophia Velasco, Fisher, IN
  39. Julia Waldorf, Fairfield, OH
  40. Taylor Wellman, Amanda, OH
  41. Mal Wesley, Over-the-Rhine, OH
  42. Harris Wheeler, Lexington, KY
  43. Althea Wiggs, Lexington, KY
  44. Lindsay Wiles, Blanchester, OH
  45. Andre Wilson, Westwood, OH
  46. Katelyn Wolary. Wilmington, OH

National Portfolio Day 2017

What is National Portfolio Day: Thinking about going to college for art? National Portfolio Day is a great way to find out your options! National Portfolio Days serve a variety of purposes.  Most importantly, they help further the development of young artists by bringing together experienced college representatives to review artwork, and offer critique. You’ll hear many different opinions about your portfolio in one place who share a powerful commitment to the arts. This experience is a small taste of what attending a professional art program can be like. To find out more about National Portfolio Day, please visit the National Portfolio Day web site.

What to Bring: Please bring finished pieces, work in progress, and sketchbooks. We ask you to bring your original artwork whenever possible. We suggest that you do not spend time and money matting or framing your work. If you would like to show some work digitally, please bring your own laptop with a self-contained power source as there will not be computers or outlets at each representative’s table.

Here’s where we’ll be:
Sunday, September 24 | Atlanta, GA | Corcoran School of the Arts and Design at GW
Saturday, September 30 | Indianapolis, IN | Herron School of Art and Design
Sunday, October 1 | Dallas, TX | School of Visual Arts
Sunday, October 8 | Cleveland, OH | Cleveland Institute of Art
Sunday, October 8 | Minneapolis, MN | Minneapolis College of Art and Design
Saturday, October 14 | Memphis, TN | Memphis College of Art
Saturday, October 14 | Milwaukee, WI | Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design
Sunday, October 15 | Chicago, IL | School of the Art Institute
Sunday, October 15 | Nashville, TN | Watkins College of Art, Design and Film
Sunday, October 22 | Boston, MA | Lesley University College of Art and Design
Sunday, October 28 | Kansas City, MO | Kansas City Art Institute
Saturday, October 28 | Richmond, VA | Virginia Commonwealth University
Sunday, October 29 | Grand Rapids, MI | Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State
Sunday, October 29 | St. Louis, MO | Washington University
Sunday, November 5 | Philadelphia, PA | Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts
Saturday, November 11 | Charlotte, NC | Kansas City Art Institute
Sunday, November 12| New York, NY | Fashion Institute of Technology
Saturday, November 18 | Washington, DC | Corcoran School of the Arts and Design at GW
Sunday, November 19 | Baltimore, MD | Maryland Institute of College of Art
Saturday, January 20 | Miami, FL | New World School of the Arts
Sunday, January 21 | Sarasota, FL | Ringling College of Art and Design


Education to be Radical, Relentless, & Radiant

To view the original post by Mitchell Sipus, Art Academy alumnus, click here.

I was deeply honored to give the commencement speech to the graduating class of 2017 at the Art Academy of Cincinnati. These last few days, I am now continually reflecting upon the unique and powerful proposition this school makes to the world. There is no other school like it.

The only other college to which I can compare it is the mythical Black Mountain College of the 1960s that produced revolutionary minds such as John Cage. To plagiarize someone else’s story, the Art Academy (AAC) doesn’t merely graduate artists or designers, it graduates the critical but hard to find team member of every successful business:

“there are three kinds of people you want to launch a business: the person with the idea, the person with the financial sense, and the person who makes you say ‘what the fuck?’ The last is the person who can rip ideas apart, remix them, and flip everything upside down to generate breakthroughs that no one else can see.” 

The last kind of person is particularly hard to find. Many schools can teach people to become accountants or to be entrepreneurs but no school teaches students to be intellectually rebellious and operationally radical. Except for the Art Academy of Cincinnati. No joke. It is even in their mission statement.

Everyday books about Innovation, Design, and Economic Disruption churn through billions of dollars in annual publishing sales. Parallel to the publishing industry, countless institutions argue they offer an education that will transform students into innovators who will change our world. But do these industries actually generate the change-makers we seek?

In the last ten years, I’ve been fortunate to spend time at the world’s best universities as a speaker, student, or instructor including Oxford University, MIT, Harvard, Cornell, and Carnegie Mellon University – and these are indeed great schools. Their students are brilliant and the faculty are more than competent. The programs are well funded and the students are nearly guaranteed the security of a well-paying job upon graduation. These schools also attract people who already have a history of success – when Elon Musk attended Stanford, he had already earned degrees in Physics and Economics. Yet I have never encountered another school that transforms unknown students into true innovators. In fact, when I recently taught Design Thinking at an East Coast top-tier MBA program, my students complained the entire time about the lack of clear directions and the constantly shifting parameters within the course requirements. I have since learned that this complaint is exceedingly common within MBA Design degrees. These programs are forcing square people through intellectual circles and many graduates come out very little changed.

Do all art schools impact students to think so differently? I’m not sure… there are many art schools in the world. My sister is a student at SCAD. I have friends as RISD. When I was a teenager, I lusted for the attention of the San Francisco Institute of Art (SFAI) and the School of the Chicago Institute of Art (SCIA). Unfortunately, in 1999, I had so little money for college, I did not even have the 50 dollars to apply to any of those programs let alone all of them. With little hope to attend any college, I drove my broken-down ‘91 Geo Prism to the Art Academy of Cincinnati for a Portfolio Review Day in mid-October, to present my high school artwork to various colleges. San Francisco was there, as was Chicago, and at least a dozen others. Chicago offered a partial scholarship on the spot, which was incredible… yet, as I did not have the money to apply, let alone to live in Chicago, it held more symbolic meaning than opportunity. I was nonetheless motivated at that moment to find a way to go to art school.

Weeks later I happened to cross paths with some artists, Aaron Butler and Christopher Daniel. Aaron worked at the Art Academy of Cincinnati and pioneered the experimental music group, Dark Audio Project, while Chris was a metal sculptor who went on to found the extraordinary and thriving Blue Hell Studio. They both held Art Academy ties, and with their encouragement, I decided to do everything possible to earn a scholarship. I applied only minutes before the deadline, in person, submitting my application in a massive wooden box crafted from an old PA system pulled from a dumpster in Kentucky (at Aaron’s suggestion that I make the physical application somehow stand out). As a mediocre student in high school, I had only applied to one other school at the time – the globally exceptional design school of the University of Cincinnati, DAAP – and I was not accepted. The Art Academy took a chance on me, offered a scholarship to cover more than half of tuition, and I will be forever grateful. Notably, after later graduating from the Art Academy, I received a full scholarship to DAAP for graduate school.

Visiting AAC this (in May) was not only nostalgic – it was inspirational. The Art Academy is a weird place. It consistently takes chances on people like me. It is a community of outsiders. It pushes them to build expertise on the ability to make something new – which is not typical, considering most degree programs demand students acquire knowledge on a longstanding subject or methodology. It pushes students to invent new models of production, new identities as artists, and to take life to the frontier of possibility. Graduates of the Art Academy of Cincinnati do not need books on creative problem solving, they need wicked problems where all others have failed. If the Art Academy has a flaw, it is a simple fact that they do little marketing or high-profile partnering, and consequently, the world knows little about this school amid an insatiable demand. The Art Academy of Cincinnati is not a diamond in the rough – it is a silent A-bomb in the exosphere.

My life has changed much since I attended the Art Academy. I am writing this blog entry while on a flight to San Francisco. Tomorrow morning, I will run a series of design strategy workshops for a Venture Capital firm in Silicon Valley to explore new investment models for Artificial Intelligence. Since attending the Art Academy, I have lived in multiple countries, built companies, and am fortunate that my abilities to tackle entrenched problems in new ways are continually in demand. When I think of the year I started college, 2000, my life is now very different from the future that was most likely ahead. Though I have my fair share of life challenges, I have a wonderfully creative and satisfying life. It has been a hard journey, but I credit the faculty and students of the Art Academy of Cincinnati. While most colleges chart a path for your future, the Art Academy provided a compass to guide me through the deep woods of the unknown.

Mitchell Sipus
Class of 2004

Image 7-17-17 at 1.17 PM (1)

A Community to Draw On

Capturing the human form can be daunting.

The model is on the stand, a pencil or brush is poised and the paper is prepared. But connecting what our eyes see with how our hands move is where many feel a bit lost, like starting a trip without a map.

Irrespective of professional or personal experience, “making art” requires being open. Open to learning, to trying to getting lost and finding ourselves again. Being open requires courage. Surrounding ourselves with other like-minded adventurers makes the journey less intimidating and exponentially more enjoyable.

The Art Academy of Cincinnati’s Open Studio “session” is an opportunity for the experienced (and less so) to try their hand at figure drawing. This long-standing Community Education offering, moderated by longtime and local artist Larry Griggs, creates a special kind of community where “Open” really means open. Though there is no official or formal instruction, learning abounds. Folks from different disciplines and various backgrounds gather to both focus in and branch out. There is no unsolicited critique or forced fellowship yet those who want input can get it. Various styles, different media, and divergent techniques offer opportunities to orient everyone toward their individual and collective destinations.

Griggs has participated with the Open Studio for twenty years and moderated for the last fifteen.

“If you sit at home and work on your own thing continually, you can just go down one road. You need to have some broader experience and exposure to what other people are doing to prod you and make you look at yourself in comparison,” Griggs offered. “For one thing you can do whatever you want. And we can also make mistakes and try new things because we’re all very forgiving.”

Fran Watson, another veteran of the art world – both in creating and critiquing – found herself drawn to the Open Studio again and again. As an abstract painter and insightful writer for over three decades, Watson contributed to The Art Academy News back in the 80’s. She also graced the pages of City Beat and AEQAI where art advisor and curator Dan Brown wrote a touching tribute. Not only was she a lifelong learner of art, Watson taught abstract art courses at The Barn, Woman’s Art Club Cultural Center,Mariemont, Ohio, and was an active member of the Cincinnati Book Arts Society.

The AAC’s Community Education Open Studio allowed Watson to stay connected to other artists in a very elemental way, as well as to that part of the soul that longs to continually learn and create. To find our own way forward while leaving breadcrumbs behind for others to follow. Watson’s idea to showcase some work from Open Studio developed during the summer of 2016 with the support of Grigg’s, the AAC, and the Woman’s Art Club, Watson began to put together the upcoming exhibit, “Figures” to be on display at The Barn, Mariemont. The show will display a sampling of works to highlight both the diversity and the process of figure drawing itself – including unfinished pieces. Inspired by her hope, fellow participants embraced her vision as their own, and carried the torch to see the exhibit come to fruition after Watson’s passing in October of 2016 at the age of 84.

Figures is a nod to how, like Watson, we are all a work in progress and how the process can be as fulfilling as the “finished” work. Watson embodied the spirit of the Open Studio till the end. Drawing and living require patience and perseverance, a willingness to keep showing up, keep the pencil moving. And always staying open to the next opportunity.

Figures at The Barn (


Where: The Barn, Woman’s Art Club Cultural Center, 6980 Cambridge Avenue Mariemont, OH 45227
What: Exhibition, “Figures”
Thursday, August 31, 6-9 p.m. – Opening Reception
Friday, September 1 from 10 a.m – 2 p.m.
Saturday, September 2 from 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Sunday, September 3 from 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Continue your own journey with classes at AAC Community Education.