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Wheeling into the future

Hamilton, Ohio – Big changes are afoot at the Fitton Center for Creative Arts.

Or should we say big changes are rolling in?

The Fitton Center contracted with the Plimpton Group out of Martha’s Vineyard to redesign the Carruthers Signature Ballroom and turn it into Butler County’s premier skating center – Fitton Skate-o-Rama.

“We’ve been looking for ways to increase our rentals and get people in the door,” said executive director Ian MacKenzie-Thurley. “We’re an art center, but we realized there is a big market for sports in our area. Our neighbors at Spooky Nook have a lot of that covered, but they don’t have a chandelier in their gym.”

Nor do they have the kind of 360-degree views of Hamilton the former ballroom will offer skaters.

“It’s an exciting proposition,” MacKenzie-Thurley said. “Most of that dark wood paneling will come down off the walls to be incorporated into the design of the skating surface on the floor. We’ll replace those paneled walls with floor-to-ceiling windows and have a true panorama.”

In addition to the existing chandelier and traditional disco balls, Fitton Skate-o-Rama will feature state-of-the-art Dolby digital sound, LED lighting and 8K-resolution ultra-high-definition projection capabilities. “We’re still an art center after all,” MacKenzie-Thurley said. “We will have a variety of curated image packages to project onto the Skate-o-Rama skating surface. Dutch Masters. Impressionists. Italian Renaissance. Mid-century American Realists. We decided against the Escher package for obvious reasons, but I think the Dali projections could bring a whole new meaning to free skating.”

In addition to reconfiguring the ballroom, the Hamilton Rotary Vista room will become a combination skate shop and locker facility.

The Fitton Center signed an exclusive sponsorship agreement with Finch Skates to carry their complete line of four-wheel and inline skates, helmets and pads, as well as their Tibetan-inspired skating apparel.

“That’s another nod to our art-center foundation,” MacKenzie-Thurley said. “Each of their clothing items are hand-crafted locally and colored with sustainable, responsibly sourced dyes. “In fact, Finch is already working with 17 Strong and various neighborhood leaders to create a series of signature colors for Skate-o-Rama apparel. For example, they are close to reaching terms to lease half an acre of Benninghofen Park to grow the flowers to make Lindenwald Lavender."

The final show in the ballroom is scheduled for May 20 - Prohibition Murder - an interactive murder mystery closing the Jazz & Cabaret series to complete the 2022-2023 season. Construction begins in June with a target opening date of March 32, 2024.

For more information, please call 513-863-8873, ext. 110.

The Fitton Center for Creative Arts is located at 101 S. Monument Avenue on the Riverfront in downtown Hamilton, Ohio.

Building Community Excellence through the Arts and Culture

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