On Thursday, May 24, the 21c Museum Hotel will debut its first community discussion. The (c)horus event is meant to encourage Greater Cincinnati-area residents to share opinions and ideas on how to improve – or create – local cultural happenings.
The first topic up for discussion is music, starting at 6:30 p.m. Once a large part of Cincinnati’s social fabric (hello, King Records), music is once again finding its way at the forefront thanks to the advent of local festivals like Bunbury, MidPoint and, more recently, Homecoming. (In fact, Bunbury and MidPoint co-founder Bill Donabedian will be on-hand for this discussion, as well as other local luminaries like Kick Lee, founder of Cincinnati Music Accelerator; DJ Nella D, deejay at 101.1 The Wiz; and Dan McCabe, co-owner of MOTR Pub; among others.)
Forthcoming topics include the local culinary scene and branding and fashion industries, says Eli Meiners, director of museum operations. "21c is always looking for a way to engage the community and we thought this was a way to gain perspective on some of the important topics of the time in Cincinnati," he says.
WVXU recently caught up with the Westwood resident to chat about (c)horus, the local arts scene, and its opportunities and challenges.
What, as you said, are some of the "important topics of the time in Cincinnati"?
Right now, I think it’s the future of music in this city and what that really means. That includes anything from increasing draw for lesser-known or local acts to funding more support for musical heritage. (Also) the MEMI monopoly, which is kind of a hot-button point right now, particularly with things going on at The Banks.
How will each (c)horus event be structured?
We want to be responsive, not reactive, so if we feel like something went really well (with this first discussion) we'll focus on that. If we feel there's areas that can be improved, then we'll respond. But ideally, it's about seeing the intersect with what we are as an organization and trying to figure out how to best engage the community, and for a purpose. We want the dialogue to be constructive, not just a lecture or some esoteric debate.
So folks should come prepared to participate?
The ideal attendee would be someone who is invested and is a participant. That could even be someone like myself who is an avid concert-goer but doesn't really have much involvement in the music business. I'm an observer in the music industry at best, but I really am passionate about it. These discussions are really an opportunity for people who care about what's going on in the community to not only become more informed by the expertise that's going to be represented on the panel but also have a voice.
How do you view the current state of the arts in Cincinnati?
Well, if you're speaking more broadly about the arts and less about music, I think it's pretty robust. I have the benefit through my job of traveling to a lot of cities that are very similar in scale to ours, and we are fortunate enough to have an embarrassment of riches.
What are the challenges?
The biggest challenge, particularly for people like myself, is getting the attention of the audience. We have so much going on – we've got Wave Pool, we've got the CAC, People's Liberty, Manifest, the Carnegie… There's so much going on that you could fill, arguably, every night of the week with a really enriching experience. The biggest challenge might just be making time for it.
Additional details about 21c’s upcoming (c)horus event can be found on the hotel's website. The next (c)horus event’s topic and date will be announced in June.