Rendering of FotoFocus Center. Courtesy of JOSE GARCIA DESIGN + CONSTRUCTION

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FotoFocus to Open New Arts Center in Cincinnati

Posted on April 6, 2022


Inaugural FotoFocus Center Marks Major New Chapter for the Nonprofit Dedicated to Championing Photography and Lens-Based Art


FotoFocus, the Cincinnati-based nonprofit organization dedicated to championing photography and lens-based art, today announces its plans to construct and open a new arts center in Cincinnati by 2024. The two-story, 14,700 square feet FotoFocus Center, located at 228 East Liberty Street, will be a world-class venue purpose-built to present a wide range of curated exhibitions, educational events and film screenings each year, furthering FotoFocus’s mission of enriching our understanding of photography.

The inaugural arts center marks a major milestone for FotoFocus, which has historically relied on partnerships with local venues to present FotoFocus-curated programming. Since the nonprofit was founded in 2010, it has established a reputation as one of the country’s leading organizations devoted to photography through signature programming like the FotoFocus Biennial, America’s largest photography biennial returning in October 2022, the FotoFocus Symposium, and FotoFocus Talks Series. The nonprofit’s philanthropic efforts encompass awarding close to 600 grants to regional arts organizations and providing them with $800,000 worth of direct aid during the early days of the COVID-19 crisis.

“After twelve incredible years, we are thrilled to announce our most ambitious project yet. FotoFocus Center will be a new space to engage with the work of significant photographers from the region and around the world. This will open up many new opportunities for us as an organization, and we are deeply grateful for the support and excitement we have received from our partners and neighbors. We cannot wait to celebrate many more extraordinary artists, curators, and academics in our new home,” said FotoFocus Executive Director Mary Ellen Goeke.

Rendering of FotoFocus Center. Courtesy of JOSE GARCIA DESIGN + CONSTRUCTION

FACILITIES AND PROGRAMMING

FotoFocus Center will consist of:

  • 4,500 square feet of gallery space, including one 3,000 square feet gallery on the lower level and one 1,500 square feet gallery on the upper level. 
  • An 835 square feet outdoor terrace on the upper level, providing additional space for patrons to gather.
  • 2,200 square feet of office space on the upper level.

Both galleries are designed to house contemporary and historic exhibitions by international, national, and regional artists. Programming will be curated by FotoFocus’s curatorial team and a variety of invited guest curators. Exhibitions will be open to the public with free admission for many events. 

ARCHITECTURE AND DESIGN

Local architecture studio JOSE GARCIA DESIGN + CONSTRUCTION is working closely with FotoFocus to design and construct FotoFocus Center. García previously collaborated with the organization on the design of the Lightborne Communications building where the nonprofit’s offices are currently located, in addition to the Art Hub Pavilion for the 2014 FotoFocus Biennial.

The building’s striking contemporary exterior aesthetically responds to FotoFocus’s institutional mission in various ways:

  • Custom gridded steel window frames reference a camera’s viewfinder and will allow ample light, a critical component of photography, to enter the building’s common spaces.
  • White exterior marble and interior wood further reference the monochromatic richness of photography, from deep blacks to bright whites and all the various warm tones occurring between.

The new building pays homage to the neighborhood’s rich architectural history through its use of contemporary versions of corbelled brick, marble, and steel.

“This will be an enormous cultural contribution to Cincinnati and a great manifestation of FotoFocus’ ethos of giving back to its community. I am sure this new arts center will deepen FotoFocus’ standing here and grow its presence internationally,” said García. 

Rendering of FotoFocus Center’s lobby and lower level gallery. Courtesy of JOSE GARCIA DESIGN + CONSTRUCTION

EXPANSION OF FOTOFOCUS LEADERSHIP TEAM

Continuing the nonprofit’s commitment to its community, FotoFocus is pleased to announce the appointment of Katherine Ryckman Siegwarth as its inaugural Biennial Director. Siegwarth joins FotoFocus from the Dayton Art Institute, where she was Kettering Curator of Photography and Special Projects. Prior to the DAI, Siegwarth has held positions at Zhulong Gallery, Amon Carter Museum of American Art, and Center for Creative Photography. Siegwarth is an alumna of the Museum Leadership Institute’s NexGen 2020 Executive Leadership program.

Siegwarth will work closely with FotoFocus Artistic Director and Curator Kevin Moore and Director of Curatorial Strategy Carissa Barnard to develop the nonprofit’s curatorial programming and strengthen its relationships with partnering venues in the lead up to the 2022 FotoFocus Biennial, taking place this October.

Rendering of FotoFocus Center. Courtesy of JOSE GARCIA DESIGN + CONSTRUCTION

Press Release originally published on April 6, 2022.