Robert O’Neal Multicultural Arts Center aims to breathe new life into West End’s historic Regal Theater 

Arts center urgently needs to raise $500,000 through community donations by August 2023.

Over the last two decades, several downtown Cincinnati districts – including Over-the-Rhine, the Central Business District and The Banks – have been revitalized. Now, it seems, it’s the West End’s turn.

The former Regal Theater

The Robert O’Neal Multicultural Arts Center is a collaborative revitalization project among Toilynn O’Neal Turner, the Katalyst Group, The Port and other partners who plan to save and redevelop the historic Regal Theater at 1201 Linn Street. The project plans to turn the theater into a multicultural arts and creative hub, complete with galleries, art and design studios, a co-working space for Black creatives, a meeting and performance space, and a street-facing retail and entertainment venue, thus bringing new amenities to this neighborhood. 

Historically, the West End was the icon of African American arts, culture and entertainment. Then came I-75.

Toilynn O’Neal Turner
(Photo by Amy Elisabeth Spasoff)

“I’m so thrilled that we’re revitalizing the Regal to its rightful place as a community treasure in the West End,” said Turner, founding director of ROMAC and daughter of Cincinnati iconic artist Robert O’Neal, ROMAC’s namesake who passed away in 2018. “The theater has a rich history and cultural significance in the West End community. But taking back the Regal is only the beginning. Not only do we want to save the theater. We also want to restore the vibrancy once found in the West End.” 

Sean Rugless

“Out of the four downtown neighborhoods, the West End offers the greatest ethnic diversity, but does not have the same amenities to attract the economic activity that is essential for its revitalization,” said Sean Rugless, president of the Katalyst Group. Despite the West End being one of the first, sizable, and most concentrated investments into downtown (a $200 million City West project in 1999), after 24 years, it does not possess the same economic infrastructure and focus as the neighborhoods adjacent to it. 

ROMAC will address the gap in elevating Cincinnati’s Black arts and commercial design community by hosting galleries and providing local artists and designers with the infrastructure and operational support for their works. 

Renovation of the Regal Theater is slated to be completed in 2025. ROMAC is looking to raise $13 million to renovate the Theater. To keep the Regal’s renovation project moving forward, ROMAC is asking for community support in raising $500,000 by August.

Supporters can donate at www.theromac.org

Follow ROMAC on Facebook and Instagram @romac2023


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