The Barn’s old hayloft about to be transformed

Two recent gifts will allow work to proceed on turning an old hayloft into a new performance/education space at The Barn in Mariemont.

The Helen G., Henry F. and Louise Tuechter Dornette Foundation (Fifth Third Bank, Trustee) has donated $25,000 and Mariemont Preservation has contributed $7,500 to the project.

Officially known as the Woman’s Art Club Cultural Center, the building is a former dairy barn at 6980 Cambridge Ave. The Barn is now home to the Woman’s Art Club of Cincinnati, which purchased the 10,000-square-foot building in 2007 after establishing a nonprofit foundation to transform it into a community arts center. The Barn and club are separate entities, sharing similar names. Both support classes and workshops related to the arts at affordable rates to the Cincinnati, Indiana and Northern Kentucky region.

The building hosts nearly 15 exhibits each year and in 2015 received 14,000 visits, said Lynn Long, executive director.

“The Barn has become a popular destination for so many Greater Cincinnati residents, thanks to our gallery exhibits, classes, workshops and cultural events,” she said.

The 2016 autumn schedule includes “Robin Hood,” “Chamber Music 4 Kids” and “Harriet Tubman.”

The foundation’s board of directors plans to insulate the facility from the outside to retain the rustic feel of the second-floor area, which was once the hayloft of Resthaven Barn. Built by the Mariemont Co. in 1924, its wooden rafters peak at 20 feet. The National Historic Landmark building retains the original pegs for hanging tools and the winching system for lifting and lowering hay bales.

Organizers used a 2015 grant from the Dornette Foundation to bring the space into compliance with the fire code, upgrade the electrical system and add event lighting. These upgrades allowed The Barn to use the loft on a seasonal basis for classes and events. The addition of an HVAC system will allow for year-round activities.

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