Contemporary Arts Center embraces free admission

CAC building exteriorCall it the Contemporary Arts Center‘s “love gift” to the city.

Just in time for the Valentine’s Day weekend, the CAC is dropping its admission fee.

The change takes effect Feb. 13, the same day as the opening of the “Passages” exhibition by Korean-American artist Do Ho Suh.

Free entry to the CAC galleries is courtesy of a $75,000 gift from The Johnson Foundation and $150,000 from a newly formed CAC patron’s circle known as The 50. Together, they will subsidize free admission for at least three years.

The move is in keeping with the belief that powerful, transformative art is meant for everyone, says Raphaela Platow, CAC director.

“This single change would send a clear message that all are welcome, and would open the doors to countless visitors who might not otherwise experience contemporary art in Cincinnati.”

Platow had been contemplating the possibility of eliminating admission fees since the lobby renovation this past spring made the CAC a popular downtown gathering spot.

The idea for The 50 came from Amy Goodwin, president and CEO of the Johnson Foundation.

The 50 represents a new generation of philanthropists and young culture seekers, ages 25-45, who want to ensure that contemporary art is accessible to everyone.

“Philanthropic opportunities for this age group are often limited to just attending occasional social events or fundraisers, but I think many of us are anxious to give back in more meaningful ways,” said Goodwin.

CAC memberships will remain in effect, and new memberships will continue to be available. Members will continue to enjoy special discounts and free admission to select programs, performances and artists talks, plus new benefits that include valet parking for all members.

The new patrons’ circle includes 50 members ages 25-45. Described as “culture seekers,” they make up the next generation of philanthropists and cultural arts supporters.

The 50 is for those who want to begin giving now and to see the impact of their involvement. They also want to donate their expertise as much as their financial resources.

By design, The 50 set out to be a “diverse group of engaged, progressive citizens who are committed to the city and to the vibrancy of the urban core.

“We believe in contemporary art because it introduces us to new ideas, challenges conventional thinking, and deepens our connection to the world at large. As individuals and as a group, we strive to continuously learn and to broaden our horizons.”

Johnson Foundation CEO Amy Goodwin and her husband Jody Bunn were the first to join. CAC director Raphaela Platow and her husband Jeff Groh are charter members.

For The 50’s first special project, each individual or couple donated $3,000 to help subsidize the free admission to the CAC. For details on The 50, email Kate Fariancci.

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