Fotofocus Biennial Hits Cincinnati And Northern Kentucky This Fall

Fotofocus Biennial kicks off this Sept. 29 and runs until Oct. 8. This Cincinnati-based event will span 90 venues across Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky, Dayton and Columbus. 21C Cincinnati is participating, so if you haven’t visited 21C in another city, here’s your chance. This is a good way to keep your love of photographic and lens-based art alive between Louisville Photo Biennial years. 

The Biennial will showcase the labor of more than 600 artists, curators and others with all projects centering around the theme of “World Record,” which, according to a press release, “considers photography’s extensive record of life on earth, humankind’s impact on the natural world, and the choices we now face as a global community. The contemporary and historic projects illuminate a broad range of topics, including nature, science, and exploration; outer space and space travel.”

There will be over 100 photography and lens-based projects presented through museums, galleries, schools, theaters, cultural centers, parks, hotels and libraries and other places as well. The projects will include new art commissions, site-specific installations, solo exhibitions, group exhibitions, public art, performances and film screenings. 

There are 33 new participating venues and all programming is developed and overseen by the FotoFocus curatorial team including: Kevin Moore, Artistic Director and Curator; Carissa Barnard, Director of Curatorial Strategy; and Katherine Ryckman Siegwarth, Biennial Director.

“This marks a monumental return to a month of dynamic programming in celebration of photography, with a record number of diverse venues participating to host exhibitions and programs,” said FotoFocus Executive Director Mary Ellen Goeke in a release. “We are elated by the commitment of all our participating venues throughout the region and delighted that this expanded reach will bring the Biennial to new audiences.”

Steve Schapiro, We Shall Overcome, 1964. Gelatin silver print. Courtesy of the artist. Part of Miami University Art Museum: McKie Gallery’s exhibition Lens for Freedom: Civil Rights Photography by Steve Schapiro

Group shows to watch for: 

On the Line: Documents of Risk and Faith at the Contemporary Arts Center, which explores the complex and contested relationship humans have with the environment, wilderness, nature, and place and includes work by Dawoud Bey, Mohamed Bourouissa, Mary Mattingly, Wendy Red Star and more.

In Images on which to build, 1970–1990s, also at the CAC, independent curator Ariel Goldberg presents work by artists and archivist collectives whose various documentations of the late 20th century reveal how influential LGBTQ+ image cultures ignited processes of learning. 

The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center presents ‘Free as they want to be’: Artists Committed to Memory, which considers the role of historic and contemporary visual arts in remembering the legacies of slavery and efforts to explore the possibilities of freedom, while the Cincinnati Art Museum presents Natural World that centers on a new collaboration between visual artists David Hartt and John Edmonds, and poet Jason Allen-Paisant.

The Carnegie  presents These Things Are Connected, a group show that brings together five curators working within and outside the Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky region to select and develop projects with artists from different geographies.

There is so much to see and not enough space to tell you all about it. Mark your calendars now. 

For more info, visit Or check out their Instagram at @fotofocuscincinnati.