Cincinnati arts group might broaden into historic Hamilton firehouse


“We stopped the other day to walk around and take a look, and people in the community were asking questions like, ‘Oh, are you going to buy the fire station? What do you do with it? Asked Bernal. “We expect to get involved in the community and see what is needed in the community and what would benefit people the most, and tailor our plan accordingly.”

The vision, subject to change, will have a large area for wave pool, including studios, a large kitchen and communal areas that could be rented out. Upstairs there may be built-in bunks with possibly separate studio bedrooms. “Our thoughts were for Spooky Nook (Sports Champion Mill) to come in. Maybe we could put a whole team upstairs instead of them having to find different hotels,” said Yerigan.

An art group that advocates for immigrants

Cullen said the biennium was a good one.

“Wave Pool strongly believes that we work with the communities we work with. So it’s perfect that they spend a couple of years getting the building ready because we can spend that time just getting it ready knowing the neighborhood, identifying the artists and community leaders who really want to shape this project , and making it a place that is truly community-led and artist-led, that’s our motto, “said Cullen.

“Wave Pool in Hamilton will look different from Wave Pool in Cincinnati because our focus is on listening to the neighbors and developing programs and projects that are driven by the people who live there,” she said. “So we look forward to sinking our teeth in and seeing what is possible.”

Wave Pool is now also located at a fire station in the Camp Washington neighborhood of Cincinnati. PROVIDED

Wave Pool got its name because after graduating from graduate school, Cullen and her husband believed they would have to move to the east or west coast to thrive in their early arts careers. They went to San Francisco, where they succeeded as a painter. They decided to step back and start an organization to help promote the growth artists need here. Instead of enjoying a beach like on the two coasts, Cullen said they decided to create the Midwestern version – a wave pool.

Wave Pool has a gallery, a community lumber shop, where people can sign up cheaply and get training from the lumber shop manager. There is also a common room that hosts film screenings and yoga classes. There are summer camps, art classes, a community garden that grows herbs that are used in cooking classes and community meals.

Wave Pool also runs a program called The Welcome Project, which works with about 30 immigrant artists and chefs each year to empower the surrounding community, offer courses, teach and lead programs, and create jobs. The organization now has a teaching kitchen, a wood shop, a market, community meals and also offers summer camps.

One thing that Wave Pool’s immigrant artists do is work with well-known artists whose work is in museums to create objects that they have designed for sale to collectors. Some of this work will be shown at the prestigious Armory Show in New York this fall. The artists receive a living wage. Every year two people from around the world are selected for the artist-in-residence program.

After Wave Pool integrates into the Camp Washington area, Cullen is interested to learn how the model can adapt to Hamilton and the East End neighborhood. “How can we enable an artist in Hamilton to make what we’ve done here work in another city?” She said.

The organization’s website is located at

ExploreThe historic Hamilton Fire Station could become a new home or businessA lumber shop is one thing Wave Pool offers artists at its Camp Washington location in Cincinnati.  PROVIDED

A lumber shop is one thing Wave Pool offers artists at its Camp Washington location in Cincinnati. PROVIDED