A creative and welcoming space

Metrobot at Contemporary Arts Center
Metrobot at Contemporary Arts Center

You’ll be inspired by the Contemporary Arts Center (CAC) even before you step foot into a gallery, maybe before you walk into the building. The Lois & Richard Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art is a striking building on the corner of Sixth and Walnut Streets, just a block from Fountain Square in the heart of downtown Cincinnati. The Rosenthal Center was designed by the late Zaha Hadid and holds the distinction of being the first U.S. museum designed by a female architect.

Standing outside the building is the CAC’s mascot: Metrobot. The fun and quirky 27-foot robot sculpture welcomes visitors to the center with its video screen and LED ticker. It even has its own Twitter handle: @MetrobotCAC. Perfect for photos!

Contemporary Arts Center
Contemporary Arts Center

A wall of windows on the first floor entices visitors with a glimpse into the CAC, and as soon as you step inside, you’re immersed in art. The CAC has rotating exhibitions, so the look of the lobby continually changes. A semi-permanent installation mounted on the back wall consists of a 160-swinging-light pendula. It is mesmerizing to watch and is a favorite of museum visitors. Also, daily admission is free!

The lobby is an inviting space with multiple functions. In addition to an information desk, you’ll find tables for working or gathering, a gift shop and Melt Eclectic Café which serves sandwiches, salads and other fare. Music adds a finishing touch to make this an appealing and convenient hangout spot in downtown Cincinnati.

Opening minds with new ways of thinking

Contemporary Arts Center
Contemporary Arts Center

The mission of the CAC is to open minds and to challenge the way people think about the world. You’re in for a treat as you explore three floors of galleries. Exhibitions are on a 3-4-month rotation with about 6-8 exhibitions on display throughout the course of a year.

The art in the exhibitions introduces visitors to new ideas, and the CAC features artists who think outside the box. Expect to find unconventional works that incorporate light, sound and motion. These pieces inspire creativity and broaden thinking. Most of the exhibitions are family-friendly, but if there is any mature content in the exhibits, the staff at the information desk will advise parents.

Creative fun for kids

Contemporary Arts Center, UnMuseum
Contemporary Arts Center, UnMuseum

One place that is always family-friendly is the UnMuseum® on the sixth floor. The UnMuseum® is a fun space to interact with art, to play and to be imaginative. Special exhibitions are commissioned by the CAC with kids in mind, and kids love the Art Lab which is stocked with materials and supplies so they can create their own works of art. 

Don’t have kids? No problem. Adult visitors are welcome to visit the UnMuseum® too. It’s open during regular hours with no extra fees. 

Be sure to check the CAC’s calendar to find out if any events will be taking place during your visit. The center offers a variety of programs that interest a wide range of visitors: art play, art classes, artist talks, films, performances, and even yoga.