Cincinnati Art Museum Art Climb
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The Art Climb project grew out of the Cincinnati Art Museum’s recent site master plan – highlighting their desire to improve their connections to nearby neighborhoods and to expand their concept of galleries to include the surrounding landscape. The Art Climb enables visitors and nearby residents to ascend 95 vertical feet from the Eden Park entrance to the existing Museum parking lot and ultimately, via a sidewalk, to the front entrance of the Museum. The Art Climb consists of monumental stairs leading to a series of terraces that accommodate artwork, seating, picnic tables, and performance spaces. The edges of the stairs “tooth” into the landscape, creating an irregular edge that allows for plants and steps to intertwine. Stacked pre-cast walls, called “outcroppings”, that echo the geological strata of local limestone help define the upper and lower edges of the terraces and stair landings. Decorative light columns dot the landscape along the Art Climb, providing dramatic color-changing light at night and visual interest. The Art Climb is meant to be a place that people inhabit, not simply pass through. In addition to providing places to sit and enjoy pieces of art and nature, the site design encourages and supports physical fitness and other programmed activities, such as yoga, impromptu music concerts, plays, and plein air painting. While it was originally designed to be an outdoor art gallery, the Art Climb, in the end, demonstrates how the landscape itself can be a work of art.