14 January 2011 // JRA Culture

Why Cincinnati? Part Two

Why We Stay

The University of Cincinnati continues to serve as one of the main reasons JRA has remained in Cincinnati for over 30 years. Businessweek consistently names the University’s College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning (DAAP) one of the best design schools in the nation. Each semester, one industrial design and one graphic design student co-ops with JRA, and these students often become full-time employees of or independent contractors to JRA upon graduation. Approximately half of our current design team consists of DAAP graduates.

Cincinnati History Museum

In addition to providing JRA with much of its talent, with its many attractions, Cincinnati has also provided JRA with a stream of work, including:


(L) National Underground Railroad Freedom Center (R) Mapping Our Tears

Creativity loves company, and you won’t find many more creative and artistic cities in the United States than Cincinnati. The city boasts a two-time Tony Award winning theater, an art museum ranked by Zagat with New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Chicago’s Art Institute as one of the best art museums in the country, and the nation’s second oldest opera. Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra was the first American orchestra to make a world tour sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, and the Cincinnati Pops was the only American orchestra invited to perform at the Opening Weekend of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

With six Fortune 500 companies, Cincinnati provides a bevy of design work for its many firms. From consumer product development to graphics to architecture to interior design and media, Downtown in particular has become an enclave of activity, even establishing one of its streets as Designers Row. This breadth of partners enables JRA to pull together dynamic teams for its portfolio of projects.

Given the fact that we are one of Esquire’s “Top Ten Cities That Rock”, one of Money Magazine’s “Top 20 Fun Cities,” and one of the Most Innovative Cities in the country according to the Visa Index (and the list of accolades goes on), the answer to the “why” question becomes even more apparent.

“Personally and professionally, Cincinnati is a great fit for us,” says Shawn McCoy, JRA’s VP of Marketing and Business Development. “From a business standpoint, we have the country’s top design school in our back yard, which provides a steady stream of design talent for our studios. Given the large number of design firms in the city, the area also has a vibrant and talented pool of specialty consultants and freelance designers with whom we regularly collaborate. On a personal side, the city is a great and affordable place to raise a family, and offers all of the cultural and social amenities of larger cities – all while holding on to its small town charm.”

The Future

Over the last 10 years, Cincinnati has seen the construction of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, Great American Ballpark, Paul Brown Stadium, the Contemporary Arts Center, and the School for Creative and Performing Arts – the only K-12 arts-focused public school in the country. It has also seen the revitalization of Fountain Square, the Cincinnati riverfront, Music Hall, Washington Park, and the city’s historic Over-the-Rhine neighborhood. And the facelifts aren’t done yet, with Cincinnati Museum Center soon to complete its $100M+ renovation.

“The energy and potential currently alive in Cincinnati is something I have not seen in many years,” says James. “We look forward to seeing where it will go, and we will continue to be a partner in the growth of the city we call home.”

…And this Song of the Vine,This greeting of mine,The winds and the birds shall deliver,To the Queen of the West,In her garlands dressed, On the banks of the Beautiful River.

– Catawba Wine, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


Photo: Cincinnati.com