We have lived in West Chester for 20 years. I know all the things to do in West Chester and Liberty Township. Only recently have I started going across 129 to Hamilton – and boy, have I been missing out. Fitton Center is a gem in Butler County – a free museum and community arts center right at the edge of the Great Miami.
I took a tour of the Fitton Center, as they are getting ready for their big Season Launch is next week. The launch will have live music by the P&G Big Band, cash bar and appetizers, membership discounts, class demonstrations and exhibition openings.
It is a free event. I plan on bringing the whole family back for the launch. Great for kids and adults.
Center of it All: Fitton Center Season Launch
Friday, August 18th from 5-9pm
101 S. Monument Avenue Hamilton, Ohio 45011
Fitton Center is an amazing facility. They have art galleries, classes, theater performances, events, all in the middle of Hamilton. It was built in 1993 for the Bicentennial of Hamilton instead of having a big party or parade. Excellent use of money – who would remember that parade today, but the Fitton Center will stand for decades. Love it. As I took a tour, I found five amazing things that I hope you look for when you visit.
Bathrooms – I know this might sound like a weird first thing to recommend for an art center, but head to the bathrooms on the right side, right inside the door when you enter. You will not be disappointed. The bathrooms are a two part series “When Nature Calls”. The rooms are truly a work of art.
In the ladies room, the sink was hand free poured cement at the Fitton Center made of recycled material. In the men’s room, the Green Man is on the wall is called the Giver of life. If you get a peek in the men’s room, watch where the water flows. The bathroom was named the 4th Best Bathroom in America.
Fitton Family Theater – The theater is very modern – the seats go very high up, the acoustics are great. It holds 239 people and there would not be a bad seat in the house. The stages hold several live Community Theater performances each year, symphony performances, ballet from the Miami Valley Ballet Theater, which practices on site in the Dance Studio across the hall and speakers of all kinds. Fitton Family Fridays and Showstopper are hosted in this theater. They are currently installing a 22 foot projection screen in the theater creating a Community Cinema – used for events, gaming competitions, movies and so much more. The theater is available for rental for community organizations.
Galleries, classrooms and celebration spaces – The Fitton Center is full of different rooms for different purposes. All the spaces were used very purposefully, to be a space to share, appreciate or create art. The wall is covered with pieces from students that have had experiences with the Fitton Center – Boys and Girls Club, YMCA, Booker T Washington Community Center.
The current installation in the galleries downstairs, upstairs and outside are pieces from the Weavers Guild of Cincinnati. I took time to enjoy the use of fabrics, different materials, different dyes and colors, the beautiful clothes. There were even yarn ball pieces hung outside to fit the fiber art theme.
When I saw the classrooms, I wanted to sit down and get to work. They were having pottery open studio time when we went through – there is nothing quite like clay under your finger nails. The Center has four kilns to fire your pieces and pottery wheels. There is always an artist on hand to help you develop your work.
Classes for drawing, painting, mosaics. Classes are held six days a week. They also have a very diverse community outreach program in the schools and at all community events. They will average 700 students throughout the year. They also have practice rooms for practicing of musical instruments.
Children’s Room – There is a great room that gives children (and adults) a chance to do a craft and explore an art medium. Right now there is a fun craft with yarn to go with the theme of fiber art. The kids spent about 20 minutes working on their butterfly yarn. During the launch, they are going to have things for kids to do in every room.
Center of it All – There are event spaces in the building including a beautiful ball room for weddings and other spaces or rent. There is also a river view terrace where you can do some water watching. During their big launch event, they will have the P&G Big Band playing. They have also partnered with Municipal Brew works to have a special beer for the occasion a Blood Orange Ale called ‘Center of it Ale’.
The Fitton Center is a great place to come if you need a break or want to have a quick meeting with friends. It’s free to walk around and bring your lunch and chill. During the Launch party pick your spot to come back to submerge yourself in art.