The Kennedy Heights Arts Center is housed in the former home of Lewis Kennedy, built in 1875. The historic, wood-frame building sits on 2.5 acres in the heart of Kennedy Heights, a diverse neighborhood in the City of Cincinnati.
Founded in 2004, Kennedy Heights Arts Center is an example of community action at its finest. When developers threatened to demolish the historic Kennedy Mansion, a group of local residents organized to save it. The City of Cincinnati contributed a grant for a down payment, and 40 neighborhood residents contributed money in personal certificates of deposit as collateral to secure the loan – and the Arts Center was born.
A few people’s dream has become the inspiration of many – literally hundreds of people helped to transform the distressed property into a thriving community arts center. Initially all volunteer-run, the Arts Center hired its first executive director in 2008.
A decade later, Kennedy Heights Arts Center partnered with other nonprofits to revitalize another blighted property: a vacant, former grocery store adjacent to our main facility. After 5+ years of work, we completed a $2.4 million renovation transforming an eyesore into a multi-use cultural campus including KHAC’s Carl, Robert, Richard and Dorothy Lindner Annex. The 10,300 square foot satellite facility includes a multi-purpose performance and event venue, digital media lab and artist studios.
The mission of Kennedy Heights Arts Center is to enhance the life of the surrounding community through arts and cultural experiences that embrace diversity, foster creativity and build community.
Through a wide range of arts and cultural programs, the Arts Center strives to:
We’re proud that 100% of our programs are accessible to everyone regardless of ability to pay.
Kennedy Heights Arts Center is grateful for the generous support of our donors.
Annual operating support provided by:
Charles H. Dater Foundation
Eleanora C.U. Alms Trust, Fifth Third Bank, Trustee
George and Margaret McLane Foundation
Greater Cincinnati Foundation
Mary and Bill Lennard
Louise Taft Semple Foundation
Marlene and Bill Muse
Mimi Gingold and Al Gerhardstein
Mike and Fran Harmon
Kennedy Heights Community Council
Jim and Patti Rulli
Scripps Howard Foundation
Social Venture Partners Cincinnati
Tom and Mary Clare Brennan
Clyde N. Day Foundation
Peg and Joe Conway
John and Jenny Dorich
David Gruber and Esperanza Tovar
Lucy Haverland Joffe
Patrick and Mary Kirk
Network for Good
Chris and Mary Ray
Rod and Barb Barr
John and Mary Ann Butkovich
Lynn and Michael Conaway
William and Paula Cordes
Steven and Susan Davis
Paul Debono and Donita Parrish
Fred and Carol Foote
Linda and Steve Grieser
Jennifer and Lyle Horvath
Amber and Brad Hurak
Mary Ann Meanwell
Tom and Cindy Muething
Amy Muse and Doug Phillips
Pi Alpha Mu
Ben Pipkin and Kathy Kessler
Pleasant Ridge Community Council
Robert and Anne Ramsay
Diane and Dan Roketenetz
Anne Schoelwer and Stephen Lavelle
Victoria and David Smith
Sue Ann Spears
Carole and Floyd Staples
U.S. Bank Foundation Employee Matching Gift Program
Mev Wilson/Triad Communications
Gregory and Heather Albright
Beverly and Bill Baker
John and Jean Bange
Ernest and Judith Barbeau
Dana and Tracie Bateman
Mary Ann Buchino
Kate and Kevin Clarisey
David and Yvonne Cooper
Tom and Barb Daugherty
Lee and Diana DeRhodes
Van and Sheral Foster
The Gaslight Cafe
Bob and Ilene Hayes
Bob and Marilyn Herring
Keith Lehman and Anne Hevener
Richard and Barbara Homlar
Suzanne and Dave Kammer
Bob and Mary Kamp
Harriet and Ben Kaufman
Joseph Leanza and Kelly Buschur
Andrea and Doug McLearen
Lawrence and Barbara Murray
Barbara and John Neumann
Patti and Doug Newberry
John and Francie Pepper
Laura and Joe Porter
Sue and Bob Ramsay
Bruce and Nancy Rogers
Christine Schumacher and Hal Hess
Lise and Kevin Sigward
Stacy and Jeff Stainton
Harry and Susan Stebbins
Mike and Barbara Streff
Rex VanAlstine and Duane Lewis
Jacky and Raul Villar
Todd and Mary Washburn
Jeffry and Joan Weidner
Katie Whelan and John Dallman
Ruth Anne Wolfe
Gary and Christine Wright
Jim and Susan Zarnowiecki
*Includes all contributions of $100 and above given between January 1 – December 31, 2019. We apologize for any omissions.
Ellen Muse became Kennedy Heights Arts Center’s first Executive Director in January, 2008. To Ellen, the position at Kennedy Heights Arts Center was her dream job, bringing together her love of the arts and her passion for building community. And it didn’t hurt that the Center is just two minutes from her home! In partnership with the Board of Directors, Ellen is responsible for the organization’s consistent achievement of its mission and financial objectives through strategic planning, fundraising, effective programs and community relations. With more than 20 years experience in nonprofit leadership, Ellen previously served as the Program Director and Director of Development for the Center for Great Neighborhoods in Covington, Kentucky. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theatre from the College of Wooster (Ohio) and a Master’s of Social Work Administration from the University of Cincinnati.
Mallory Feltz joined the staff at the Kennedy Heights Arts Center in January 2015. Mallory’s love of all art forms and the desire to make art available to all people is what drew her to the organization. As a resident of the area, she is passionate about building a strong community and providing opportunities to its residents. Her own 2-D and 3-D artwork consists of a wide range of materials, mainly textiles, and explores applications of new techniques. Mallory held the position of Arts Education Coordinator at KHAC for four years. In January 2019, Mallory became the new Director of Exhibitions and Public Art for Kennedy Heights Arts Center. Mallory earned her Bachelor’s of Fine Art in Sculpture from the University of Cincinnati, College of Design, Art, Architecture and Planning in 2006, and her MFA in Sculpture from Louisiana State University in 2009. Prior to working at KHAC, Mallory worked in custom framing and the commercial art world coordinating projects for a variety of clientele, including international companies.
Mairi Huizinga has served in this part-time position since 2016. She has a three year business college degree specializing in computer programming. Mairi worked for IBM for 22 years before coming to Kennedy Heights Arts Center—first as a volunteer, then joining our staff.
As an artist and art educator, Sarah Rodriguez strives to cultivate meaningful relationships and instill a love of making and creativity in all people. Sarah joined the KHAC staff in October 2022, having previously served as School Programs and Tour Manager at the Contemporary Arts Center. She holds a BFA from Wright State University and an MFA from Miami University.
With more than 15 years of dedicated service as an advocate and champion for the advancement and social wellbeing of youth, and as a professional photographer and arts educator, Shawndale Thomas joined our team in August 2022 to develop and run The Cr8 Club, an arts and social learning after-school program at Woodford Academy. He earned an Associate Degree in Interactive Media Design from the Art Institute of Ohio-Cincinnati.
A graduate of the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music with a Masters of Oboe Performance, Clare Miller has served as the Operations Coordinator of Youth Jazz Cincinnati, our after-school jazz education program in partnership with Cincinnati Public Schools, since 2019. Clare also coordinates special events for the arts center and private rentals.
Jazz guitarist and proud graduate of Cincinnati Public Schools, Quentin Coleman pays it forward by helping young CPS student musicians develop their craft as assistant to Youth Jazz Cincinnati Director Dr. Isidore Rudnick.
Please enjoy our 2019 Annual Report, offering highlights from our key initiatives, financial summary, and recognition of our partners and donors.
Annual reports from previous years are also available for download.
2013 Annual Report
2012 Annual Report
2011 Annual Report
2010 Annual Report
Selected recent articles about Kennedy Heights Arts Center:
“Multiple layers form a smooth ‘skin’,” CityBeat, May 3, 2017.
“Badge of Honor finds calm amid conflict,” CityBeat, February 15, 2017.
“Drawing on Second Sight,” AEQAI, June 25, 2016.
“The Kennedy Heights Arts Center: A how-to in grassroots community building,” Community Voices, May 2016.
“Domestic Departures,” AEQAI, May 24, 2016.
“Kennedy Heights Arts Center expands,” City Beat, August 26, 2015.
“A cultural center: Big idea for empty big box,” Cincinnati Enquirer, August 23, 2015.
“Kennedy Heights Campus to attract artists, investment,” Cincinnati Enquirer, November 13, 2014.
“Cultural campus coming to Kennedy Heights,” Cincinnati Enquirer, April 21, 2014.
“Women artists collaborate on book making,” City Beat, April 2, 2014.