Juxtapoz Magazine – Cincinnati: The City in a BLINK

Juxtapoz Magazine – Cincinnati: The City in a BLINK

Right after remaining a mainly informal observer to a summertime of seemingly unending airline nightmares, I acknowledge to experience a little anxiety about regardless of whether a excursion to Cincinnati in October had the ideal amount of prospective payoff from a possibility-reward standpoint. If there is just one point the pandemic taught us, it’s that a lot can certainly be achieved without having the want to be bodily current, but there’s tiny wow aspect in viewing a mural competition on Zoom.

BLINK Cincinnati has been on our radar for various a long time now. Most mural festivals share quite similar features, but there was one thing about BLINK that built it really stand out as what the next iteration of these gatherings could glance like, so we required to see it in human being. By some means, despite escalating up in neighboring Pennsylvania, I in no way built it the couple of hours west to Cincinnati, so I was excited to visit a location in the planet that would experience common, however at the similar time, wholly new. 

My preferred activity on these styles of outings is to just stroll. If it ended up up to me, going for walks would be the principal objective of just about every excursion or holiday vacation, mainly because in accomplishing so, you’re ready to little by little take in the sights, sounds, vibes, and from time to time regrettable smells that accompany a leisurely stroll by way of an city grid. It permits you to select up on minimal cultural nuances enhanced by an outsider’s view of the priorities of a metropolis and its men and women, so I hit the floor running… er, walking.


The first early morning I walked all the way to Kentucky. Of course, you can fully do that by way of the John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge spanning the Ohio River and connecting Cincinnati to Covington, KY. Very little recognised truth, the Roebling Suspension Bridge is reported to be the prototype of the legendary Brooklyn Bridge in NYC, built by John Roebling and then built just shy of thirty yrs later on with a quantity of twists and turns alongside the way. I digress. 

BLINK spans from the More than The Rhine (OTR) district to the north all the way south by means of downtown, throughout the bridge, and into Covington, so there was lots to see on this aspect of the river, like an unbelievable FAILE mural that covers two structures separated by a principal avenue. 

Strolling back throughout the bridge into Cincinnati, you can’t miss out on the Countrywide Underground Railroad Liberty Centre, a museum put on the extremely shores that, at a person point in our storied history, ensured that making it this considerably basically meant accomplishing one’s freedom. I was not conscious of the museum’s existence prior to this trip, but it by itself is more than enough motive to stop by. I could have put in an complete working day viewing the installations, shows, and interactive displays that are next to none.


Sad to say, a limited journey implies it mainly feels like a whirlwind, and it was obtaining close to lunchtime. A person put I certainly listened to about just before going to Cincinnati was Skyline Chili, which people assert is unmatched. Apparently, thousands and thousands of people appear to appreciate the put, but its culinary appeal escaped me. Pick your very own experience on that one particular. I can say that now that I’ve remaining the town and am safe and sound considerably, significantly away. The rest of the afternoon was used touring murals in development and examining out the OTR community, waiting for darkness to set in so I could practical experience firsthand the projection-mapping component of the festival that tends to make it all so fascinating. One particular of the coolest spots in OTR is a bar found 4 stories underneath Vine Avenue referred to as Ghost Baby. It is a vibe, for absolutely sure, and certainly the sort of place that will make you fail to remember the solar may well be shining when you make your way back again up to avenue level.

The evening was inspiring. There are so quite a few projection-mapping jobs taking place that it is extremely hard to soak up it all in just 1 night time. Luckily, I experienced a different night forward, but however couldn’t enable rushing block to block, neighborhood to community, to in the long run end up back again down on the riverside to check out out the 300-piece drone show around the bridge that I’ve by now talked about too substantially. 

The up coming early morning, I uncovered myself at Further Roots espresso, located in the Findlay Sector place, for the second day in a row, to meet up with the BLINK organizers for a tour. If you are within just a number of blocks, it is the fingers-down spot for caffeine reuptake. It is apparent the ambitious organizers care deeply about their town and have no strategies to slow down in accomplishing their vision of the city’s possible as a big arts hub.

Immediately after the tour, a couple of of us headed to the Cincinnati Art Museum. You could not want to stroll very that distance, but as soon as you get there, it’s well worth it. The museum is great, and an even far better experience followed by a stroll in the attractive bordering Eden Park.


For lunch, I found Hathaways, a diner that has endured in the downtown spot considering that the 1950s in the Carew Tower. There’s practically nothing like the outsized parts served up at a diner right after you have set in 10,000 actions right before lunchtime. An hour afterwards, I went to check out out the 21C Hotel just a couple of blocks away. We’re followers of the art museum idea of 21C, and I had earlier long gone to Louisville to take a look at the first a person they crafted. It was extremely spectacular, and this a single was as well, but be confident to make your way to the next ground. I was about to leave when a man at the doorway stopped me, noticing I experienced been in there only to check out out the artwork. He advised there was additional upstairs, and did he help save the working day! I would have left underwhelmed but as a substitute identified various rooms and hallways comprehensive of great items I would not have or else witnessed.

Virtually, up coming doorway to the 21C is the Present-day Arts Centre, so you truly get your bang for your buck on this block. The CAC is five floors of artwork exploration in a super neat building, so undoubtedly, do not skip it. Also, everything I explored currently was free, so even tourists on a price range really should contain the museums all over Cincinnati.

Just after an afternoon of artwork-ing, I satisfied up with a close friend to capture up over a drink at Rhinegeist Brewery. It’s like an grownup playground, blended with enjoyment things for little ones as well, building it also family members-friendly. To major it off, the rooftop bar with superb views of the metropolis tends to make it a gem of a fantastic hangout spot. Later, we wandered again to Findlay Marketplace, which is actually type of in the coronary heart of every little thing in the OTR community. Eli’s BBQ offered plenty of caloric replenishment. Findlay Current market has a good blend of food stuff and buying solutions that make it a spot worth your time. 

The rest of the night was used wandering the streets and really taking in all of the numerous light-weight installations. Someplace in the middle, we manufactured a fast pit halt at Mecca. Any area enjoying skateboarding videos driving the bar is my variety of area, so yes, unquestionably encouraged.


That evening, there were being so many men and women out and about that it was to some degree brain-boggling. The number of people with youngsters walking the streets late into the evening with big smiles and enlivened seems on their faces produced it clear that 1 way or a different, this metropolis is remaining fortunately exposed to community artwork of the best caliber.

The following working day was a brief a person, but I did some extra walking and ultimately settled on Nicholson’s Pub for a speedy lunch prior to heading to the airport. I don’t know specifically what was in that BBQ Bacon Burger I had, but even correct now, I’m considering no matter whether it was the finest a person I have had in my lifetime. 

It is humorous, but all over my time there, I held hearing individuals stating factors like “It’s Cincinnati, we’re applied to remaining looked above,” or “We’ll take anything at all we can get,” but the eyesight for the town and the individuals guiding BLINK are actually performing anything unique. My guess is that this sort of a modest assessment will transform a ton above the coming a long time. —Mike Stalter

Thank you to BLINK for the tour of the town and the arranging of the event

Photography and text by Mike Stalter