Cinci exhibit features “Star Wars” costumes

Here’s an idea for a quick summer road trip: head for a galaxy far, far away that’s actually as close as Cincinnati.

We’re talking about “Star Wars and the Power of Costume,” currently at the Cincinnati Museum Center. After checking the show out last weekend, I’m pretty sure it would be a hit with both “Star Wars” fans and those who appreciate the ways in which costumes for the movies are envisioned and created. The show is a Smithsonian traveling exhibition.

Pulled from the collection of the Lucas Museum of Narrative Arts, the exhibition features 70 hand-made costumes from the first seven “Star Wars” films. Through nine presentational “chapters” visitors explore the creative process. You’ll see “concept drawings” and “final costume designs” as well as the finished costumes and photos and film clips with the characters in those costumes.

It’s fun to be taken behind-the-scenes and to see, for example, why the costume forced the actor playing C-3PO to take small stiff steps. It was also interesting to see how the warrior costumes were originally designed to incorporate features of military units from various countries and periods and how specific colors were selected to reveal character.

"Regardless of the number of times you've seen the films, there's nothing quite like seeing Chewbacca's or Darth Vader's costume right there in front of you," says the museum's Cody Hefner. "What's so powerful and charming about the exhibition is that it's a multigenerational experience. We're seeing grandparents and grandchildren visiting together, excitedly pointing at different costumes, learning something new from each other and treading that common ground between them."

Featured costumes include the:

  • Monk-like robes of Jedi masters Obi-Wan Kenobi and Luke Skywalker.
  • Intimidating suit and complex breathing apparatus of Darth Vader.
  • Military-influenced uniforms of the Imperial Stormtrooper, Senate Guard and TIE Fighter Pilot.
  • Yak hair and mohair costume of Chewbacca.
  • Intergalactic outfits of Senators Bail Organa, Mon Mothma and Mas Amedda.
  • Fierce armor of mercenary bounty hunters Jango Fett, Boba Fett and Zam Wesell.
  • Elaborately detailed gowns of Queen Amidala, Queen Jamillia and their handmaidens.

Short films provide a behind-the-scenes look at the creative process and include interviews with artists, designers and actors. Digital interactives feature sketches, photographs and notes.

“Whether they chart the evolution of a character or identify good and evil or that murky space in between, each costume is a thoughtful piece that drives the story forward,” says the museum’s president and CEO Elizabeth Pierce.

The show is open through Oct. 1. For more information and to purchase tickets visit or call (513) 287-7001.

Winners announced in Black Heritage art exhibit

The winners in the “Black Heritage through Visual Rhythms” exhibit at the National Afro-American Museum and Culture Center were announced on June 17 at the opening reception. National Afro-American Museum and Culture Center of Wilberforce.This is the fourth annual national art exhibit produced by the coalition of the African American Visual Artists Guild and the

The winner for “Best of Show” was Al Harden of Cincinnati, with a photograph titled “We are One.” The first-place winner in two-dimensional was James Pate of Dayton. Second-place winner in two-dimensional was Joe Howard of Columbus. The first-place winner in three dimensional was Antoinette Savage of Columbus and second-place winners in three-dimensional were Kyle and Kelly Phelps of Centerville.

Pyramid Hill marks 20th Anniversary

Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park & Museum, located outside of Hamilton, will host a ” pARTy in the Park” on July 16 in honor of its 20th anniversary. If you haven’t been to the park, you’re missing something special.

The Butler Philharmonic and the Cincinnati Opera will perform a selection of pieces in honor of the special occasion. The concert’s highlight will be an original work, “Vision on a Hill” by Paul Stanbery, music director of the Butler Philharmonic. The piece was composed in honor of Harry Wilks, founder of the park.

Stanbery says the work begins with Harry (played by a solo French Horn) standing atop his barren acreage which will eventually become Pyramid Hill. “Then, one by one, ideas begin to emerge, as if new sculptures are appearing,” Stanbery explains. Prior to the concert, guests are invited to attend a 5 p.m. gourmet picnic with cocktails set among the popular Age of Stone sculpture by John Isherwood. The concert will begin at 7 p.m.

Tickets to the fundraiser are $30. Guests can purchase combined tickets for concert and picnic for $100. RSVP by calling (513) 868-8336 or visit

Ibebe exhibit at Front Street

Ben Ibebe, an internationally known African artist based in Nigeria, will have a solo exhibition of his “Jazz Series” and new work at the Front Street Buildings, 1001 E. Second St. (B-C door) in Dayton.

“His new Jazz series was inspired by the jazz scene he found in New York,” says Peter Benkendorf of The Collaboratory, which is co-sponsoring the show.

Ibebe’s colorful oil and mixed-media work will be on display from 5-8 p.m. on Thursday, July 6, at a preview opening. A reception with the artist is slated for 6-9 p.m. on downtown’s First Friday, July 7. Weekday hours are from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. On Sunday, July 16, the gallery will be open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The show can also be seen by appointment, call (937) 732-5123.

Dayton Playhouse announces season

Brian Sharp, board chair of the Dayton Playhouse, says they’re hoping the just-announced new season will appeal to both current audiences and those who aren’t as familiar with the community theater.

Shows include the musical comedy “Sister Act” (Sept. 15-Oct. 1); “Come Back to the 5 & Dime. Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean” (Nov. 3-12); ” Beehive: The 60’s Musical” (Jan. 19-Feb. 4); “A Few Good Men” (March 9-18); and Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” (May 4-20.”

Season tickets are $75 for adults and $70 for seniors, students and military. They may be purchased at, or by calling (937) 424-8477. Individual show tickets are $18 for adults and $16 for seniors, students and military.

The Dayton Playhouse, a community theater, is located at 1301 E. Siebenthaler Ave.

Auditions slated for “Sister Act”

The Dayton Playhouse will hold open auditions for “Sister Act” at 7 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday, July 24-25 at the theater. The show will be directed by Tim Rezash, with musical director, Ron Kindell and choreographer Michael Grooomes. Production dates for are Sept. 15 through Oct. 1.

Those auditioning should prepare a one-minute selection of a contemporary musical-theater song for the primary audition, with a second selection backup. You’re asked not to select songs from “Sister Act.” Visit for complete list of characters, descriptions and vocal ranges necessary. Roles include adults of all types and ethnicities.

Each week. arts writer Meredith Moss shares information about the people and events making arts news in our region.

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