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Playhouse in the Park, Carnegie engage audiences through interactive art series

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Posted at 10:00 AM, Oct 04, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-04 10:00:17-04

CINCINNATI — Beer pong, live-action role playing and Bob Ross paintings are not typically associated with the arts.

That will change when the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park and the Carnegie in Covington launch separate series that combine alcohol, offbeat presentations and hands-on participation.

“The goal of our series is to make the young professional an art maker,” said Playhouse community engagement manager Carolyn Guildo Clifford of Off the Grid. The series kicks off at 8 p.m. Wednesday at Mount Adams Pavilion, 949 Pavilion St.

Wednesday’s “So This One Time: Story Slam” gives young professionals five minutes or less to tell a story loosely pegged to broad themes such as “Adventures in Adulting,” “My First Time” or “Squad Goals.”

The story slam is a first for the Playhouse, which will organize and facilitate a rotating lineup of themed events at the Pavilion three Wednesdays a month through March.

Other activities include lip sync contests and live-action role playing of favorite science fiction shows. Sign up in advance and see a schedule of the series on the Playhouse’s website.

“Anyone can show up the day of,” Guildo Clifford said of the events. “We are trying to engage our neighborhood. We feel YPs say, ‘We want to be part of the experience.' But there aren’t necessarily venues that allow you that outlet. We want to connect them to the arts.”

In Northern Kentucky, the Carnegie's G.E.T. Together series kicks off at 7:30 p.m. Friday with “Drinking About Art: The Bob Ross Debate." The event costs $21 to attend and is hosted at the Carnegie, located at 1028 Scott Blvd. in Covington.

G.E.T. is an acronym for the Carnegie’s gallery, education and theater departments. The five-event series is a way for each department to showcase the creative power of the arts center’s staff and various patrons, according to theater director Maggie Perrino. 

“We have disparate audiences for each of our departments,” she said. “Some patrons may never know what another part of the Carnegie is doing. We thought maybe this was an opportunity to bring everyone together. Some of the series is about cross-pollinating those audiences.”

Monthly events will include live game shows, Christmas choirs and villages, and karaoke team challenges and trivia.

The Bob Ross debate is billed as a tongue-in-cheek discussion that pits artist Michael Stillion and art historian Kim Paice against one another. Stillion will argue the former PBS painter was an innovator while Paice will argue he was a hack. 

To spice things up, Carnegie staff members have pre-selected trigger words that, if uttered by one of the debaters, require that person and certain members of the audience to take a drink.

“Everyone in the audience will get the standard red Solo cup to catch pingpong balls for a little beer pong and prizes as well,” Perrino said.

For added theatrics, a group of Over-the-Rhine actors will improvise skits between the three debate rounds.

“This is really the first time we’ve done anything like this,” Perrino said. “This series is a whole change in programming for us. We thought that it would be a kind of fun way to start with the Ross question.”

Guildo Clifford said she is excited to hear the stories that will be shared at the Playhouse event Wednesday and see what else comes out of the audience's participation.

“I love creating a space comfortable enough for you to tell your story and interact,” she said.