How Hamilton’s Fitton Center led a local TV show’s regional expansion

PBS/CET program The Art Show returned to the Fitton Center for the Arts in Hamilton this month to use the center as bookends and segment introductions during the program. Its the second time the show has come to Hamilton to film. CONTRIBUTED

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PBS/CET program The Art Show returned to the Fitton Center for the Arts in Hamilton this month to use the center as bookends and segment introductions during the program. Its the second time the show has come to Hamilton to film. CONTRIBUTED

A local TV program has stopped filming at a southwest Ohio studio and has turned to the Fitton Center for Creative Arts in Hamilton for two episodes of its new “on location” format.

While producers of The Art Show on PBS/CET are always out and about, filming stories with artists and arts organizations, show host Rodney Veal only ever filmed at the show's loft set in Dayton's Davis-Linden Building, according to Ann Rotolante, the show's producer.

All that changed when it filmed at the Fitton Center last December.

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“It was the first episode we filmed entirely on location, and it was a tremendous success,” Rotolante said. “In total, eight of the 20 new episodes that aired in 2019 were filmed on location like this, while the remainder were filmed on our usual set.”

She said what show’s crew learned throughout is they really enjoy interacting with the public, and want to do more of it.

“Our host Rodney Veal is such an ambassador for the arts in our region, that it just makes sense for the entire production to be embedded in the community,” she siad. “Plus, it’s just one more way to for us to spotlight the unique fine arts facilities in our viewing area. The Art Show plans to film every single one of our episodes for 2020 in this manner.”

Rotolante wrote to the Fitton Center, saying she thought of the center right away to be the first location because of the "wonderful experience" it had filming there last year when Veal interviewed Fitton Center Executive Director Ian MacKenzie-Thurley. In an email to MacKenzie-Thurley, she said the Art Show also appreciated the numerous backgrounds and spaces in which to film there, the ample parking and fantastic staff and that Hamilton offers "loads of yummy places to eat lunch."

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For the two upcoming episodes, the show uses the center as bookends and for segment introductions.

“This gave us the freedom to film in quite a few locations inside the Center, including the magnificent Carruthers Signature Ballroom,” she said. “We also took the opportunity to film in the West Gallery, where some of the paintings of Oxford, Ohio artist Robert Mullenix are currently on exhibit.”

MacKenzie-Thurley said the Fitton Center has received positive feedback from the Art Show episode filmed there last year.

“The community enjoyed seeing their arts center featured regionally and having the opportunity to share it with others via the internet,” he said. “We have a great relationship with local public radio in WVXU, it’s been great to see that expand to public television also with CET.”

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The two episodes recently filmed at the Fitton Center are currently scheduled to air the weekends of Feb. 1 and Feb 15. The episode that airs in between (on the weekend of Feb. 8) was filmed at the Woman’s Art Club Cultural Center (aka The Barn) in Mariemont, and features the Woman’s Art Club of Cincinnati, the oldest existing women’s art club operating without interruption in the United States.

The Art Show airs on CET 48 in Cincinnati on Saturdays at 6 p.m., and on ThinkTV 16 in Dayton on Sundays at 5:30 p.m. The episodes will also be available to watch online for free the Friday before they air on The Art Show webpages www.thinktv.org/TheArtShow and www.cetconnect.org/theArtShow.

“We have worked very hard to ensure that the Fitton Center has become a hub for the entire community in Hamilton and throughout Butler County, not just for the arts but for a wide variety of events and community engagements.” MacKenzie-Thurley said. “Being featured as part of local arts program is fantastic opportunity to show off the Fitton Center and allow people outside of Hamilton to know what a incredible resource we have here, and that its just one of the amazing parts on an ever-expanding list of reasons to come and visit — or re-visit — Hamilton.”

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