Where is the Door

Eva Lutz, Alex Koppelman
Contemporary Art Center of Cincinnati


Eva Lutz and Alex Koppelman

Faced by declining attendance trends and shrinking revenue, The Contemporary Art Center of Cincinnati asked a group of design graduate students at the University of Cincinnati to help them capture new audiences, use their space more effectively, and increase attendance and revenue. The students broke into teams, applied design thinking and various research tools such as: Value Opportunity Analysis (VOA), Wayfinding Analysis, demographic research and interviews to create concepts that would help the CAC reach these goals. 

This paper outlines what happens when one of the teams redefined its wayfinding analysis, shifting it from just a process of physical discovery to a research methodology. This revealed that the barriers of entry to this institution went beyond the inability to find the door, the stairs or even the bathroom. New paths to the institution were needed if it was to remain a relevant to the community.  This paper discusses this process and presents the final concept that was created by one of the teams throughout the semester long project. 

The design concept introduced proposes that the CAC establish a center for co- collaboration between businesses, universities and community leaders. This concept will effectively utilize the assets of the CAC to position the organization as a leader in local and regional development. The impetus for these goals is based in research that supports the correlation between the success of a region and the prominence of a creative place. Art can be used as a catalyst for development through the creation of a vibrant community that attracts diverse crowds locally, regionally and nationally.