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A Second Look For The First Time

If you’re not familiar with us, hello, we’re Professional Artistic Research Projects Incorporated. We’re a 501(c)3, not-for-profit organization based in Cincinnati, Ohio. The cool kids, and everyone else for that matter, call us PAR-Projects — pronounced / pär ˈpräjˌekts /  — and we’ve been creating experimental art experiences throughout Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky since 2010. 

If you're already familiar with PAR-, hello again! New to us or not, we hope you'll lend us a few moments to get through this post. Our goal is simple: We'd like to get reacquainted. A lot is going on with our growing organization so, as Executive Director, there's no better time to reintroduce ourselves. And if all goes well, this will become an annual address — a progress report of sorts.

Back to the basics though: Our mission is to help empower community in the arts. As educators, we provide weekend workshops & multi-week classes, related to career development & skills training. As working artists, we enjoy hosting thought provoking exhibitions & large scale collaborations throughout Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky.

Let’s dig in a little deeper though. What is the education we’re offering and how does it empower community?

PAR- Education is fairly straightforward. Instead of teaching “traditional” art forms that typically come to mind — painting, drawing, sculpture, etc. — we’re focussing our energies on applied arts education. This is two-fold though. Not only do we teach classes related to graphic design and digital media; we also teach classes that will help artists become more successful when pursuing an artistic career — from a business & productivity standpoint that is. Essentially, our goal with our educational programing is to help our students allow their creativity to spur economic growth for themselves and their communities.

Approaching the other half of our mission, related to gallery exhibitions and outward expression, we simply believe everyone should have access to museum quality artwork (regardless of race, gender, culture, etc.). And directly related: We believe everyone should feel comfortable enjoying high levels of creativity, while those who are more familiar should also feel comfortable discussing thought-provoking work with those who may lack experience articulating emotions drummed up by visual arts. We’re creating conversations here. And when done right, we’ll continue building relationships as a byproduct of this process. White walls and concrete floors are not what we’re after.

So then, where is all of this happening?

In late 2014, we purchased a dilapidated, 6,000 square foot, former lumber drying facility in Northside Cincinnati. In all honesty it was crumbling, but over the last few years we’ve been able to pay off the mortgage and bring the first part of our facility online. In October of 2016, we began hosting fine art exhibitions and community gatherings at our space and have already received positive press, related to the caliber of statements our artists have been able to create.

Our next major step related to our build-out — and delving back into the community engagement piece of our organization — is to transform our property’s courtyard area into an outdoor movie theater. And again, the reasoning is simple. While we hope everyone in our community will be ready to tackle this “art thing” we're creating, we know that launching free, easy, and understandable entry-points is a great way to build community before tackling anything too heavy.

But the education?

The best news related to our educational programming is that we’ve launched our second, more secure location, prior to getting our headquarters built-out enough to host classes in Northside. 

Thanks to a few generous funders, we’ve been able to establish our first digital media lab to live inside the Lindner Annex, located at Kennedy Heights Arts Center. Essentially, KHAC had the space, but no one to develop digital media programming, while we’ve spent the last couple of years developing our educational programming, prior to having the space to house it. With that, as our team continues to re-imagine and redesign our headquarters, we’ll continue teaching and refining our educational programming over at KHAC. And when the time is right, we’ll launch the second half of our educational programming in Northside.

Anything else?

Well... We’d be remiss not to emphasize collaboration is still a big part of our DNA. Our creative, one-off projects, helped us get to this point, so there’s no way we’re letting go of that part of our organization. Projects like our Sculpture-infused Corn Maze (along the Mill Creek Bike Trail), Symphonic Stylings (our fashion show w/Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra), and #MakersMobile (Cincinnati's first mobile, shipping container art gallery) are not going away. Instead we’re focussing our energy on refining our ongoing programming, while we finalize some show stoppers, which will begin rolling out in late 2018.

But what about right now?

For the next few months, we’re looking to reintroduce our organization, our growing board of directors, our amazing volunteers, and our mission to businesses and families around Cincinnati. 

If you’re interested in helping out, and possibly raising some dollars while doing so, please let us know. Specifically, we’re looking to present our ideas to both old and new friends, and continue growing from there. These connections can happen at the PAR-Projects Headquarters in Northside, a local eatery, coffee house, watering hole, or even in the comforts of your favorite living room.

Have you already thought of five to ten people you'd like to loop into this conversation?

If so, please contact me via Email at: 

Thanks for taking the time to (re)connect. 

With great appreciation,

- -

Jonathan Sears

Executive Director
Professional Artistic
Research Projects
(513) 394-6564


And if immediately compelled, please consider supporting our growth at:

...or plan to join us Sunday, October 22nd for our next Beer Burger Brunch!


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Introducing Applied Arts Education

So "more" arts education, huh?
This is a question we field from time to time when some learn we’re rolling out applied arts educational programming at PAR-Projects. 

What we’re up to is not just “more” arts education; but if it were, just more arts education would be great. It's indeed needed ...throughout the city ...throughout the country for that matter. Few would argue we have an abundance of creative thinkers and creative problem solvers.
Original & creative thought is simply becoming harder to find, especially outside of affluent communities.
That said, and like most things we do, PAR- Education is a little different from the norm. Our biggest goal is to create and support career pathways in the visual arts. Therefore, instead of teaching more traditional classes (e.g. painting, drawing, and crafts), we’re focussing on applied arts education. And by definition, “applied arts are arts in which objects are designed or created in order to be used rather than simply to…