Q&A: Why this is a big year for the Fitton Center to be hosting a huge Cincinnati Reds exhibit

Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame & Museum and the Fitton Center for Creative Arts have partnered to bring “Road Trip” to the Fitton Center. The baseball-themed exhibition will remain on display through Friday, April 5. Curated by the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame & Museum, the exhibit features artworks from the museum collection and from the HOF network of artist fans. The show also includes sports-themed paintings and abstract glass pieces by artists from Hamilton’s InsideOut Studio.

We caught up with Chris Eckes of the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame & Museum and curator of “Road Trip” to find out more about what fans can expect when they visit the free exhibition. Representing an eclectic mix of styles and artists, the exhibition features a wide variety of artists and artistic treatments all focusing on some aspect of Reds baseball.


• 6 Butler County food spots that have been recognized by national experts

Q: How many pieces will be on display at the Fitton Center as part of the “Road Trip” exhibition?

A: It's right around 80. Some of the things that we're doing will be single displays with multiple elements in it. For example, we just commissioned local artist Chris Felix to do busts of brothers Harry and George Wright, who were members of the 1869 Red Stockings. And what we'll show is the process of that, including prototypes, touching on the three-dimensional scanning process that was involved in the creation of these. So, this whole collection has multiple pieces built into it.

Q: What would you hope this experience would offer Red’s fans?

A: This is a huge year for the entire Reds organization. I mentioned George and Harry Wright of the 1869 Red Stockings. 2019 marks the 150th anniversary of that team's first season as an all-professional team, and they were the first all-professional team in baseball history. So, the organization is celebrating that anniversary in many ways, and the opportunity to extend these very unique expressions of being a Reds fan, or unique representations of key moments, or personalities from Reds history, in these great works of art that comprise the exhibit, to bring that story out of the bounds of the museum and the ballpark complex to the Fitton Center is a great outreach opportunity for us.

So, our hope is that this is contributing to the overall celebratory feel that we’re going for this season, and then, fans will gain an appreciation for how fellow fans, in some cases, really take their devotion to baseball and the Reds to a whole other level by using their creative talents, to, again, produce these wonderful, artistic expressions. We certainly hope everybody enjoys it.

Q: Tell us about the partnership between the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame & Museum and the Fitton Center?

A: The Fitton provides an outstanding forum for us to bring these pieces from our collection, as well as incorporating a great deal of art that we have solicited to be part of this exhibit into a different format in a different space. We are not primarily an art museum, so to have a chance to utilize the gallery spaces for this kind of focus was a tremendous opportunity for us, because typically, this collection is not presented in this way.

Q: Can you touch on what’s happening at the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame & Museum and bring us up to date? I understand there are some renovations underway.

A: I mentioned the 150th anniversary celebration, and the Hall of Fame's renovation is at the forefront of that celebration. We turn 15 this year, and it was a great opportunity to take a great facility and make it better, and really position the museum to stay at the top, in the world of sports museums for decades to come. So, it is a comprehensive renovation of the building. There is very little of it that is not being impacted by the renovation. We are shut down completely right now. We shut down at the beginning of November, and we will be re-opening by Opening Day.

For more about the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame & Museum, go to www.mlb.com/reds/hall-of-fame.


What: "Road Trip"

When: Runs through Friday, April 5.

Where: Fitton Center for Creative Arts, 101 S. Monument Ave., Hamilton

Hours: Exhibitions will be open during regular gallery hours. Hours are Monday through Thursday, noon to 7 p.m.; Friday, noon to 5 p.m. and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Galleries are also open during weekend performance events.

Admission: Free

More info: www.fittoncenter.org or call (513) 863-8873.

About the Author