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Miami's Center for Community Engagement in OTR celebrates 10 years

02/20/2012

Miami students Olivia Hallquist, Danielle Musselman, and Maddi Underhill work at the office of CR Architecture and Design, along with Jennifer Dickerson and Gonzalo Martinez, to design affordable senior housing on a site in Over-the-Rhine.
Miami University's Center for Community Engagement in Cincinnati's historic Over-the-Rhine community will celebrate its 10th anniversary with an open house 6-9 p.m. Friday, Feb. 24, at the center, located at 1300 Vine St. in Cincinnati.

A short program will begin at 7 p.m. Students, alumni, faculty and community members will share their reflections on the center and the community.

"As in previous years, the students’ account of their experiences are rich, and they clearly illustrate that our critical community pedagogy of crossing borders of difference, building relationships and analyzing how class and racial struggles take form in Over-the-Rhine still contributes to student, faculty and community members’ learning," Thomas A. Dutton, professor of architecture and interior design and director of the center, said.

Established in 2002, the center has collaborated with many community groups in Over-the-Rhine, forging opportunities for student, faculty, and community learning in cross-disciplinary and inter-cultural experiences.

The center’s semester-long residency program brings in students from all majors. Students work in various neighborhood institutions that serve the under-served. They work at the Drop Inn Center, Venice on Vine, Peaslee Neighborhood Center, the Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center, and Over-the-Rhine Community Housing. Teacher education majors work as student teachers at Rothenberg Preparatory Academy.

The Over-the-Rhine DesignBuild Studio donates design and construction skills to help bring the buildings of the neighborhood back into use for low and moderate-income occupancy.

Lindsey Freel, who participated in fall of 2011, said, "I have begun to look at urban development in a different way. I don’t see fixed up buildings and brand new stores; I see the faces of people. I look to see if companies are working to make sure existing community members are valued. Overall, I analyze the effects of racism, classism, and econocide from a people’s point of view instead of a developer’s point of view."

Cassidy Pierce, wrote in an opinion piece that appeared in the Jan. 2 issue of the Cincinnati Enquirer, "Many outsiders are drawn to Music Hall or the newly renovated Vine Street, but too many times the people who live in this area are pushed aside as the leftovers of the renovations. But after living in Over-the-Rhine for 15 weeks, what draws me the most is the people, with their welcoming and loving spirits."

The 10th anniversary open house is a part of the Year of the Arts.

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