Look Here! is a simple idea that can be easily replicated in other neighborhoods. Once this project is unveiled in Over-the-Rhine, other Cincinnati neighborhoods can learn from this pilot project.
At its core, it is a simple project – existing historic images are turned into low-cost signs using an existing fabrication technique, then mounted on existing infrastructure throughout a targeted geographic area.
Look Here! is easily scalable by simply adding or subtracting images from the exhibition, and adjusting events as the budget in the neighborhood allows.
The first step in creating an exhibit like Look Here! is to identify and select images for your exhibition. Below is a list of photo repositories with relevant information about each.
Private Individuals: If you are part of a neighborhood organization or historical society is could be easy to solicit individuals for photos for your exhibition. Make sure you get permission from each donor to use their image. This permission should be specific as to how you will use the image. Will you publish it on your webpage? Are you creating a print publication to accompany your signs? Any of these additional uses should be explicitly stated.
The Cincinnati History Library and Archives at Museum Center: This is an excellent repository of historic photos, but using it requires a serious time commitment. There are so many collections and sources that it’s hard to get through them all. Be sure to explain what you’re doing to the helpful research librarians and they can point you in the direction of the photographic finding aid and some of the most useful photographic collections. A small portion of the library’s photographs are Available Online. Here you can search by street name, event, or building type (like brewery). Use of Museum Center’s images can be pricey and their images cannot be published or used on the internet without specific permission. For more information you can contact Photo Curator, James DaMico.
University of Cincinnati , Archives and Rare Books Library, Rapid Transit and Street Improvement Photos: These images are in the public domain and can be used freely by giving credit to UC’s Archives and Rare Books Library. They are very high quality and can often be zoomed in to highlight specific details. Again they can be searched by street name or the name of specific building. You can explore them Here. Note that you need to search each of the two collections separately. It may seem as if they are one collection, but pay attention to which of the two image groups you are using.
Ohio History Connection: The Ohio Memory collection of Ohio History Connection contains some Cincinnati images. When searching this collection I have found it useful to include “ Cincinnati” as one of my search terms to narrow my results. Also make sure to restrict your search to photographs by using the “restrict to” tab. You can search the collection Here. Also note that the use fees for Ohio History Connection are fairly high.
Kenton County Public Library: The Faces and Places Collection of the Kenton County Public Library contains many Cincinnati photos and is easily searchable online. The use fees for this collection are modest and the library staff is extremely helpful. You can search this collection Here.
Library of Congress: Though Look Here! did not use any images from the Library of Congress, their digital photo collection is extensive and can be easily searched. You can find their images Here, and again I would recommend including Cincinnati or Hamilton County in your search terms to narrow your results.
As an exhibit in the public right of way, Look Here! requires a Temporary Revocable Street Privilege (RSP) from the City of Cincinnati. You can find the details about applying for an RSP Here. Note that the application requires a million dollar insurance policy, but do not be scared off by this detail. Most non-profits can add this coverage to their existing insurance for a modest fee. Additionally a permit is required to do work on the public street, so if you install signs on your own, you will need an installation permit as well.
Look Here!’s signs were fabricated by Decal Impressions in Cincinnati's West End, and cost less than $20 each.Decal Impressions' staff is extremely friendly and helpful and will work with you to create the best quality image possible. You can visit their website Here.
Because the signs ended up being pvc (the original plan was aluminum), I installed the signs myself over a four-day period with mounting hardware purchased from AA Safety in Amelia, Ohio. AA Safety is also a fabricator and would have fabricated the signs if they had been aluminum. They were incredibly helpful and patient.
One of themost important aspects of Look Here! has been partnering with community organizations. Each organization was able to help the project in various ways and the final product was notably strengthened by each of their contributions. I encourage you to seek these connections to enrich your project.
Look Here! On the streets of Cincinnati’s historic Over-the-Rhine - November 2015-March 2016