The next time you find yourself in Over-The-Rhine, be sure to visit the Wash Park Art Gallery on Elm Street, right next to Music Hall. The gallery is known for featuring accomplished local artists, and currently on display are works by one of the Mount’s own—Kurt Grannan, oil painter and Assistant Professor of Graphic Design at the Mount. A collection of his original work is featured in the new Out of the Dark show.
Grannan lives a busy, art-filled life. For one, he teaches full-time at the Mount, instructing students in numerous art and design classes. He also co-owns a graphic design business with his wife, Brenda.
Aside from his day-to-day graphic design work, he finds time to “express himself” and fuel his passion of painting by doing elaborate, expressionistic oil paintings that the Wash Park Art’s website describes as displaying “a constant struggle for understanding, communication, and solution.” His breathtaking work has been shown in numerous galleries around the city, including the Mount’s San Giuseppe Art Gallery during the faculty art show.
The Out of the Dark exhibition contains a collection of his pieces that have been created over the past decade, rather than a single series. Many of his featured pieces depict the human figure and tackle a societal issue, such as the opioid epidemic, or personal dilemma, such as the search for self and belonging. The pieces are meant to create a real sense of tension between the canvas and the viewer.
As one of Grannan’s students, I have enjoyed taking his courses for the past three years, but it was an incredible and impressive experience to visit the gallery and see the work he does as a “passion’’ rather than profession. I do not often get the chance to see his work outside the classroom, and for me, the pieces offer a different perspective of my professor and how he is able to express himself in a truly unadulterated style that he does not share in the classroom.
Going through the Out of the Dark exhibition gave me an appreciation for the true talent that the professors here at Mount St. Joseph possess. I visited the show during the opening night, and enjoyed the gallery atmosphere and how easily accessible it is. Situated on Elm Street, the gallery resides along the Cincinnati streetcar route, and it is within walking distance to many of OTR’s well-known restaurants and bars.
The Out of the Dark exhibition opened in early April and will continue until May 26. The gallery is open Thursday and Friday 4:30-8 p.m., and Saturday 2:00-8:00 p.m. Admission is free. Find out more about the gallery and its exhibitions on the gallery’s website: www.washparkart.com.