Huggable Art: Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center

Huggable Art: Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center

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Imagine a museum where you can hug the art, seesaw in a trailer, play “Mary Had A Little Lamb” with some neon cubes, and chill on a bench next to shark girl all the while learning more about art and humanity.  No matter where we travel to, I love cities with a strong museum culture, especially one where visitors can play. Even better: this museum isn’t a science center but instead all about the contemporary arts. While modern art tends to get some crap, this institution is more than fancy canvas splatters and abstract sculptures that all look like penises—which I equally love. The Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center in Ohio is filled with interactive and engaging exhibits and is worth a visit if you are looking for fun educational opportunities within the city.  Did I mention that the museum is free?

The Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center in Ohio is filled with fun interactive exhibits for the entire family. Did I mention that it's free? #cincinnati #travelblogger Click To Tweet

Are you looking for things to do in Cincinnati, Ohio that are free and family friendly? The Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center is the perfect interactive museum visit. #traveltips #theuncorkedlibrarian #ohio #Cincinnati

Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center

Park In A Nearby Garage

Before we headed to the airport for our flight home, we dropped into downtown to check out the free Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center. That’s right FREE!  If you park in one of the many garages nearby, you will have to pay a small fee, which is well worth the expense.

P.S. If you are interested in cheaper travel, including scoring free hotels and airfare, check out this intuitive and responsible travel course here.  You will get a $20 discount through my site.

The Exhibits Are Always Changing–Even As I Write This

Small Disclosure:  At the time of this post, September/October 2018, we only had access to two of the floors, which spoiled guests raged about on Trip Advisor. At the time, we had access to floor numbers 2 and 6 as well as the ground floor. We had no complaints.  Perfect for a 45-minute to hour-long visit with the family, we enjoyed the available exhibits and would go back in a heartbeat.  Also, because the center is a non-collecting institution, there is no permanent collection.  Exhibits are always changing, even as I publish this post.  Check the Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center website for the most current information.

The UnMuseum

Lets start at the top! Located on the sixth floor is my little heaven, the UnMuseum, especially because I have to touch everything. I am nosy and curious and playful and hyper and have the attention span of a fly. Something tells me most kids do too. Plus, y’all, I am the worst kind of person: AN INSTAGRAMMER. When I see a photo opp and chance to create new content, I take it.  When art says to HUG it, dude, you hug up all over that shit.

Are you looking for things to do in Cincinnati, Ohio that are free and family friendly? The Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center is the perfect interactive museum visit. You can even hug the art! #traveltips #theuncorkedlibrarian #ohio #Cincinnati

What is the UnMuseum?

The UnMuseum boasts of “creativity and curiosity for everyone.” It is a space for exploration and the senses. Hello unique learning stations, hello art molestation by hyper uncorked bloggers, and hello FUN. Interactive commissions fill the sixth floor with learning opportunities for everyone. There are tables and seating for art projects and play. Inspirational art gallery space meets art making.

Be sure to check out the Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center, UnMuseum--with huggable art and space for art-making, exploration, and play. Also, IG heaven. #travelblogger #cincinnati Click To Tweet

Exhibitions

A little frustrating, the website is not 100% extensive or always updated.  The site crashes a lot too.  Some of the exhibits are not listed for the UnMuseum, so expect surprises–which I enjoy.  A few exhibitions to catch this fall:

Rockin’ Trailer by Simparch on display through April 1, 2019

A motion sick girl’s worst nightmare, I couldn’t resist the Rockin’ Trailer. Bless the security staff members who have to listen to that rocking noise all day. Truly, it sounds like people getting it on in the trailer park. Padded benches line this little egg-shaped RV. The trailer is decorated with vintage Route 66 signs and is essentially a giant seesaw that wobbles back and forth.

Deep Space by Lucius LCD (Amy Lynch, Joel Masters and J.D. Loughead) on display until Nov. 14, 2018

Reminiscent of a Ripley’s Believe It or Not mirror maze, stare into neon lights and walk through a rave-like hallway.  Why do I keep opening my mouth in photos?  I. Don’t. Know.  I was overstimulated, what can I say?

Are you looking for things to do in Cincinnati, Ohio that are free and family friendly? The Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center is the perfect interactive museum visit. #traveltips #theuncorkedlibrarian #ohio #Cincinnati

Not listed on the website, I loved:

I See Myself in You by Jenny Roesel Ustick

Throughout the arts center, encounter mirror people of different ages, backgrounds, genders, ethnicities, and races. Each mirror person represents a real person who lived in Cincinnati, Ohio.  When you look into the mirror, you are also looking at a reflection of yourself.  Imagine the powerful message of connection, understanding, and empathy.  I stood there, reflected on how deep down we are all connected, and then I fixed my hair.  Just kidding.  In a messy world these days, I needed this exhibit.

Are you looking for things to do in Cincinnati, Ohio that are free and family friendly? The Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center is the perfect interactive museum visit. Have fun while learning more about the world. #traveltips #theuncorkedlibrarian #ohio #Cincinnati

Signs around the exhibit ask, “Do you ever feel uncomfortable in a museum or do you feel like you just don’t get the art?”  Yes. Yes. And, YES!!  If you say no, clearly you are lying.  The UnMuseum is truly about relating to art and finding something for everyone.

'Do you ever feel uncomfortable in a museum or do you feel like you just don't get the art?' If yes, check out the Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center and the UnMuseum. #cincinnati #travelwriter #artmuseum Click To Tweet

And don’t miss:

I am sure I missed the sign, and I almost missed the room.  Right when you enter, hidden in the back is a light and sound room.  Grab the two flashlights and aim them at the ceiling.  Watch the heavens come to life with music and color.  A little worried about head lice, I still plopped in the middle of the floor on my back to light gaze.  Way too much fun.  Like libraries, museums are no longer quiet places, and I love it.

Are you looking for things to do in Cincinnati, Ohio that are free and family friendly? The Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center is the perfect interactive museum visit. #traveltips #theuncorkedlibrarian #ohio #Cincinnati

I’m a little fuzzy because the room is actually pitch black…

My favorite exhibition heading out on October 2, 2018:

Shark Girl by Casey Riordan Millard 

Shark Girl is a symbol of Millard’s fear of sharks. As the exhibit notes, when we have a paralyzing fear, sometimes we cannot think of anything else. The fear overtakes us. What would your head look like? I’d definitely have a monkey sitting on my head—full story here.

Are you looking for things to do in Cincinnati, Ohio that are free and family friendly? The Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center is the perfect interactive museum visit. #traveltips #theuncorkedlibrarian #ohio #Cincinnati

The dark cloud also represents a bad day that we just cannot avoid. The exhibit asks how we can escape versus handle that Eeyore-like feeling. I also like to look at Shark Girl as a judgment. Unlike the whole “you look fine to me” BS surrounding chronic illness, Shark Girl’s anxiety is in your face.

What Else Is Going On At The Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center

While we saw the Karl Blossfeldt, Francis Bruguière, Thomas Ruff, No Two Alike exhibit on the second floor (September 21, 2018 through January 13, 2019), I wasn’t exactly in love with the photography.  Close-ups of plants are just not my thing.

What I do love is that the museum constantly changes out artwork, offers yoga, has a black box theater, and of course, offers a plethora of programs.

For a few hours, you and the family can play upstairs, get your art on, and truly immerse yourself in art in a new way.  Just bring some hand sanitizer.

If you are looking for other museums to visit in Cincinnati, Ohio, check out the American Sign Museum.

Visitor Info:

Before visiting, always make sure to check the Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center website here for the most up-to-date information.

Hours:

Saturday–Monday
10AM–4PM

Tuesday
Closed  (shop open 10AM–4PM)

Wednesday–Friday

10AM–9PM

Admission:

FREE

Share The Hugs (and Germs)!  Pin It:

Are you looking for things to do in Cincinnati, Ohio that are free and family friendly? The Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center is the perfect interactive museum visit. #traveltips #theuncorkedlibrarian #ohio #Cincinnati Are you looking for things to do in Cincinnati, Ohio that are free and family friendly? The Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center is the perfect interactive museum visit. #traveltips #theuncorkedlibrarian #ohio #Cincinnati

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19 Comments

  1. October 2, 2018 / 1:27 pm

    This museum looks amazing! My fav is the shark girl! I haven’t been to a fun/contemporary museum in a while! I hope I can catch a good exhibition in Budapest! But will visit this one if I can in Cincinnati and it’s just so cool that it’s free! I love to show people as well that museums, poetry, and pretty much any form of art can be so much fun! Posts like this are vital! 💖 Hopefully one day we can write them together. =)

    • Christine
      Author
      October 2, 2018 / 1:42 pm

      I hope so too!! That would be fantastic!

      If you decide to go full blown magazine: I’ll crochet you my resume when it’s time lol!! Or write it out on a macabre puppet ; )

      I feel like right now, these posts aren’t as popular with my overall audience. I have to work on that. My travel niche is growing and changing. More unique and educated travel is definitely my personal passion and what I want to get people hooked on too. I plan on writing more about living and teaching abroad too. I will just have to work on building the perfect audience. My blogging resources posts are on fire.

      I always feel so lucky when we stumble upon these gems. I do research beforehand, but you just never know what you are going to find. I really liked Cincinnati.

      • October 2, 2018 / 1:52 pm

        Definitely. I hope I can get into that next year!

        I have so many content plans as well! There is just not enough time in the day to do them all! I hope I’ll have more time to work on them from next year.

        • Christine
          Author
          October 2, 2018 / 1:57 pm

          There is definitely not enough time in a day. I try to set aside little tasks each week/month like “learn how to use Awin.” But then 800 other things come up, and I am always hustling to get posts and content out consistently. Looking forward to the day when I know enough to have extra time.

  2. October 2, 2018 / 3:05 pm

    I love a good museum, especially when it is interactive (and double bonus if it’s free!) I’m yet to explore the museums in Berlin; once the cold weather hits though, I imagine they will be my weekend jaunts. I’ll definitely be putting some blogs up though, I never really thought of that until I saw this post!

    • Christine
      Author
      October 3, 2018 / 9:13 pm

      I cannot wait to see your travel blogging posts for Germany! You should write some about living and moving abroad too. Museums are perfect for the colder weather.

  3. October 2, 2018 / 5:29 pm

    Looks like great fun. Not unlike the Buchheim Museum of Phantasy we visited in Munich. Lots of great interactive contemporary art. Really enjoyed visiting through your post.

  4. October 2, 2018 / 7:49 pm

    This. Is. Amazing! I totally don’t always get modern art either, but this is everything I love about modern art! Also, immediately after reading this, i said to husband, “There’s a huggable art museum in America!” And he said, “what kind of art? I don’t want to hug Renaissance paintings.” And the proceeded to demonstrate hugging a large canvas. So I hope that image amuses you!

    PS: Hope you’re feeling better!

    • Christine
      Author
      October 3, 2018 / 11:12 am

      Ahaha!!!! That’s hilarious!! I don’t want to hug Renaissance paintings either 😂😂 Best comment of the week. The image is now trapped in my brain.

      I am feeling better! Thanks!! How are you doing? Is your internet any faster? I hope so!

      • October 3, 2018 / 6:41 pm

        Excellent! My work here is done.

        Sadly still ill and now the internet isn’t showing photos on ANY blogs… which is both comforting and super annoying for blogging purposes. Also bizarre.

        • Christine
          Author
          October 3, 2018 / 6:43 pm

          Omg no way!!!! Maybe you have a magical computer with evil powers 😂🙈 It must be the connection. My files are small too. Hope you can still blog. 👩🏻‍💻

  5. October 3, 2018 / 3:40 am

    What a great read and fun museum! I have to go there one day. I cracked up at your trailer comparison to a trailer park. HAH. You are too funny. Sorry to cut this comment short, I popped a Benadryl, so I’m going to sleep before I fall asleep typing this and I never post.
    Xo, Kathy @ Tasty Itinerary

    • Christine
      Author
      October 3, 2018 / 11:10 am

      It’s definitely a hilarious children’s exhibit 😂 Thank you!!! Oh girl, I feel you—I chugged some NyQuil. Xo

  6. October 3, 2018 / 9:53 am

    I love it! What a fun way to interact with art. This is a nice reminder that art doesn’t have to be something we only look at, it’s actually something we can interact with on a daily. I love the hug piece. Thank you for sharing!

    • Christine
      Author
      October 3, 2018 / 11:09 am

      The hugging piece was my favorite too. Thanks!! Museums like this are a great reminder that we all learn differently and crave many types of interactions.

  7. October 4, 2018 / 8:21 am

    This looks right up my alley!! I love interactive exhibits and I really really love taking selfies with statues and other inanimate objects, haha! Have you been to the Mattress Factory Art Museum in Pittsburgh? That was a fun one!

    • Christine
      Author
      October 4, 2018 / 11:36 am

      It was a blast!! I just looked up the Mattress Factory Art Museum. HOW COOL. I am in love and want to go ASAP. I haven’t been in PA for years, but the next time I visit, I am 200% headed here. Thanks for the suggestion.

    • Christine
      Author
      October 4, 2018 / 12:47 pm

      Thank you, book bestie 💕💕

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