A Tour of Camp Washington, Cincinnati’s Up-and-Coming Arts and Culture Hub

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Located just three miles north of downtown Cincinnati, Camp Washington, or “Camp,” as residents affectionately call it, is primarily an industrial neighborhood. Meat-packing plants dominated the area when folks of largely Appalachian descent flowed in during the 19th and 20th centuries, wooed by the prospect of work. Residents — numbered at just over 12,000 at Camp’s peak population before World War I — rose in the mornings to cross their streets to work at those same plants before heading home again. (Informative historical markers along Spring Grove Avenue pay tribute to the area’s contributions to Porkopolis, as well as the metal-working, printing and fire-fighting industries.)

Today, the face of Camp Washington has been altered by the build-out of I-75 in the 1960s, and the Mill Creek Expressway before that in the ’40s, as well as the encroachment of vacant lots and buildings every decade since. But as so often happens in well-situated urban neighborhoods blighted by exurban growth, Camp is turning a new page.

Enticed by low rent and close proximity to the city center, a number of artistic outposts have set up shop, primarily on Colerain Avenue, the main business thoroughfare — places like Wave Pool gallery, focused on community-driven creativity, and the CampSITE Sculpture Park, intent on helping reframe the way people experience their environments. And, increasingly, the Camp Washington Community Board and Center Development Corporation, established over 30 years ago, have gained traction as agents of more codified change.

Read more in our full Camp Washington Cover story.