To be recognized as the leader in the arts in Northern Kentucky.
The Carnegie will utilize its historic building to provide a venue for emerging and established artists to create, perform and exhibit; provide educational opportunities for the discovery and enhancement of creativity; and celebrate the arts.
The Carnegie's doors have been open to the Northern Kentucky/Greater Cincinnati community for over three decades. We've changed names over the years, from the Northern Kentucky Arts Council, to The Carnegie Visual and Performing Arts Center - recently shortened to The Carnegie - but our commitment to the arts remains unchanged. As the largest and only multidisciplinary arts venue in Northern Kentucky, The Carnegie connects people with enriching arts education, exceptional theatre and unique gallery exhibitions.
One of the most intriguing aspects of our history is the story of our iconic building. In 1904, philanthropist Andrew Carnegie funded the construction of a library, to be called The Covington Public Library. The library was unique for the time, in that the founding board chose to designate it open to all citizens - making it one of the first integrated libraries in the south. The library quickly became a cornerstone of the community, providing citizens with a rich literature collection. Two years later, a full-scale theatre was added, which served as a town hall for the community and played host to political speeches and theatre events of the time.
The library and theatre continued to thrive through the years leading up to World War II. During the war, the theatre's original copper roof was removed and sold for scrap. Left exposed to the elements, the theatre suffered significant water damage. The theatre began a gradual decline and in 1958, without the funds to repair it, the library boarded up the theatre.
Both the library and the theatre were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1971. However, that designation alone was not enough to save both buildings from potential demolition in 1974, when the Covington library moved to a larger facility. It took a group of interested Covington citizens to save The Carnegie from the wrecking ball. They formed the Northern Kentucky Arts Council and turned our building into a non-profit community arts center.
The theatre was used infrequently over the ensuing years because of its serious, even dangerous, disrepair. Over that time our name changed from The Northern Kentucky Arts Council to The Carnegie Visual and Performing Arts Center and we continued to develop as a gallery for new and emerging regional artists. Arts education classes for children were introduced.
In 1999, the State of Kentucky, the City of Covington, The Carnegie board and many others, led The Carnegie to it's biggest transformation. From this initiative, a connector addition was completed in 2003, linking the galleries with the theatre. That project sparked the creation in 2004 of a bright and beautiful new classroom space, the Eva G. Farris Education Center.
In 2005, The Carnegie's signature stained glass interior dome was completely refurbished. The only piece remaining to complete our metamorphosis was the renovation of the theatre. Hundreds of gifts from large to small, as well as hard work from architects, builders and more restored what is now the Otto M. Budig Theatre at The Carnegie.
The Otto M. Budig Theatre celebrated its grand opening on March 24 - 26, 2006. Today, The Carnegie is an award-winning multi-disciplinary arts venue for all ages and provides events, educational programs and art exhibitions to the community. With five art galleries, a new education center and theatre, The Carnegie is one of the most prominent arts institutions in Northern Kentucky.
It’s a Beautiful Mess, curated by Krista Gregory, focuses on the way in which an artist’s studio process is translated into a gallery settiing. In particular, the show addresses the question ‘can objects made in a working studio, or…Read More »
Studio Open is an exhibition organized around the very best of recent graduates and MFA recipients in the region. Each year, graduating classes of art students leave the university classrooms and studios and begin their artistic careers. These are th…Read More »
Opening Reception On September 9th at 5:30 PM - 9:00 PM William Knipscher: Where the Light Goes will consist of an exhibition within The Carnegieâ€™s student gallery as well as a permanent installation located in a public common area of The Carnegie …Read More »
Tony Dotson makes work that is firmly rooted in Folk Art traditions but frequently uses wry commentary to connect to contemporary issues and pop culture sentiments. Dotson has been a fixture in the annual Art of Food event, building crowd-pleasing en…Read More »
Opening Reception On December 9th 2016 at 5:30 PM - 9:00 PM This major survey of the work of Edie McKee Harper (American, 1922 â€“ 2010) will examine the important moments in her career and development as an artist. Harper was trained at the Art Acad…Read More »
Opening Reception On March 10th 2017 at 5:30 PM - 9:00PM The Nothing That Is presents an exhibition in five parts about drawing, curated in collaboration with Bill Thelen, an artist, curator and educator based in Raleigh, NC. His work has been exhibi…Read More »
Exhibition: Demolition Man - Selected works from the Raymond Thunder-Sky Archives Opening Reception On April 28th 2017 at 5:30 PM - 9:00PM Demolition Man will be the first major survey in the United States of Raymond Thunder-Skyâ€™s work. Thunder-Sky…Read More »
Opening Reception On April 28th 2017 at 5:30 PM - 9:00PM Co-organized with artist Peter Huttinger, Wordly will examine language as it is employed by visual artists. The artworks by Bennett, Ellenberger and Thurman are conjunctions of text, image, obj…Read More »
Music and Lyrics by STEPHEN SONDHEIMBook by GEORGE FURTHOriginally Directed on Broadway by HAROLD PRINCEOrchestrations by JONATHAN TUNICKDirected by Corrie DanieleyMusic Direction by Erin McCamleyChoreography by Jennifer MartinRobert is single, but a…Read More »
Curated by Mary Heider Participating artists: Soulaf Abas, Julie Abijanac, Lynn Arnold, Ann Burrell, Steven Finke, Tim Freeman, Joe Girandola, Jamie Grauvogel, Barry Gunderson, Laurie Hughes, Kelly Malec-Kosak, Adam Maloney, Derrick Meads, Tim Riete…Read More »
In 1983, Mark Patsfall/Clay Street Press invited ten artists living and working in the Cincinnati area to participate in a portfolio with the loose theme of “Cincinnati”. Some of the artists were printmakers, most were not. The result was…Read More »