Reasons To Play At Cincinnati Parks’ Smale Park This Summer


The big kid at heart in me can hardly wait to see the new elements of our Cincinnati Parks’ Smale Park, truly one of our city’s great gems.

On May 12, this new spectacular ‘SplasSmale Riverfront Park in Cincinnatih & Play’ Susan and Joe Pichler Fountains element opens atop the carousel plaza.

And, speaking of the Carol Ann’s Carousel…it opens May 16,  just west of the Roebling Suspension Bridge in downtown Cincinnati. Located inside a glass building, the carousel is 20 feet tall and 46 feet in diameter and will operate year-round. The Cincinnati Parks Foundation received a $5 million gift from the Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile, Jr. / U.S. Bank Foundation to build the carousel, which honors Carol Ann Haile’s philanthropic vision.

You can bet you will be seeing me there this summer!

What makes this carousel ride even more special is that its 44 animal characters 5-04 Marthaare hand carved and each tells a story of our great city.  This one is Martha, the Last Passenger Pigeon.  After magnanimous efforts to save from extinction the beautiful bird that once numbered in the billions, her death at our Cincinnati Zoo resulted in stronger conservation laws.

The paintings on the carousel feature a whimsical exploration of one of Cincinnati’s parks. Animals featured in the paintings include an elephant flying a kite at Ault Park; giraffes enjoying the sunset at the Alms Park overlook; a squirrel, toad, and lizard band playing in Washington Park; and an artist owl painting the Abraham Lincoln statue at Lytle Park, with the Taft Museum of Art in the distance.

Local artist Jonathan Queen was selected to create them.  “My own experiences in Cincinnati’s parks inspired most of these scenes,” he said. “I also thought about my own family and what we’ve enjoyed doing together in the parks.”

Jonathan Queen completes Rapid Run Park in his studio.

Jonathan Queen completes Rapid Run Park in his studio.

In addition to the Cincinnati Parks landscapes, Jonathan worked with ArtWorks apprentices to paint 16 views of Cincinnati architectural landmarks for the center of the carousel.

His paintings appear effortless, but they required nearly two years of painstaking work. You can that work in an exhibition at the Taft Museum of Art called From Studio to Carousel: The Whimsical World of Jonathan Queen from May 22 to September 6, 2015.

The exhibition will include preliminary sketches, clay models of animals, and all 16 painted studies.
Thursday, June 4, 7 p.m.

Jonathan Queen will discuss his work decorating Carol Ann’s Carousel and From Studio to Carousel: The Whimsical World of Jonathan Queen in the Sinton Gallery. Reception to follow.

FREE Taft Members and Students. $10 Public (includes Museum admission)
Reservations: (513) 684-4515 or

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