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The 50: The group that made CAC free

Photo by Ryan Carpico

Photo by Ryan Carpico

The Community-builders

It's always the apartment.

"I'll be back at the apartment at 5:30." "I'll meet you at the apartment."

Leo D'Cruz didn't use the H-word. Nothing was home, other than his parents' house. The very rooms that got shorter as he got taller.

Now, Cincinnati is home. And he's growing in a different way.

He moved to Northside, with his wife and fellow The 50 member, Michelle, in 2009 from Washington, D.C. Their deep connection and commitment to Cincinnati prompted their financial support, a first for the couple.

"We found a quality of life here," said Michelle, partner and creative Director at Reverb Art + Design. "We wanted to live somewhere where creativity was more of a thread woven throughout the city and not just the job you had. I couldn't find that in D.C. at the time. Everything that led us out of D.C. is what has kept us in Cincinnati."

Leo, partner and CCO at Reverb Art + Design, doesn't even mind if you ask where he went to high school. "I find that kind of endearing because it speaks to how well-connected people are here ... that is one of the most unique experiences I have found in any city," he said.

The couple wants to ensure there are more connecting points, for all types of people, in this community. The CAC's free admission is a start.

"One of my lifelong goals and focuses of my work as an artist and as an educator is trying to break down barriers in the art world," Michelle said. "This incentive to me is as dear to my heart as you can get because the entire point of it is accessibility to the public."

It's not just about building community, Leo noted. It's about shaping it responsibly. And art is the right steward for progress.

"Art pushes us to think about things that we never would have before," he said. It teaches us where we came from. Makes think about our place in the world today.

"It really can push us to think about who it is that we want to be as a people, as a community, in Cincinnati and as a nation," Leo said. "That's why it's important that everyone can access it."


Read the full article here.