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Three Acts in Over-the-Rhine: Places of Community

Presented by Over-the-Rhine Museum at Memorial Hall OTR, Cincinnati OH

Jun 15 2022
Three Acts in Over-the-Rhine: Places of Community

Emanuel Community Center, photo by Chris Hall, 2004

Hear stories about of a few Over-the-Rhine’s long-standing establishments: the Emanuel Community Center, Sweet P’s Styling Shop and Skeeter’s House of Beauty; plus see photos taken throughout 1970s by Stephen Albert!

Join us on Wednesday, June 15th at Memorial Hall (1225 Elm Street) at 6:00pm for our summer installment of “Three Acts in Over-the-Rhine.” This program features speakers who will discuss three long-standing Over-the-Rhine establishments: the Emanuel Community Center, Sweet P’s Styling Shop and Skeeter’s Beauty Shop. Telling these stories are: Karyl Cunningham, former president/CEO of the historic ECC; Marva Payne, daughter of James Lewis, known as “Sweet P;” and Levi Jones, barber and friend of Sweet P. In addition, we’ll be joined by Stephen Albert, a photographer who will be sharing select photographs from his recently published book, “Over-the-Rhine in the 1970s: A Journey into a Unique Cincinnati Neighborhood.” Event check-in will start at 6:00 pm and the program will begin at 6:30 pm.

Reserve your seat today! Tickets can be purchased on a “pay what you would like” donation basis. We recommend $5-10 per person. Light bites will be provided and a cash bar available throughout the event. This Three Acts event will be held in Memorial Hall’s studio room which has its own entrance along the north side of the building off of Elm Street. Paid parking is available just across the street below Washington Park. Bus and streetcar stops are also conveniently located directly across from Memorial Hall, in addition to a Red Bike station at Elm and 14th streets. This program will be available to watch live via Please join us in celebrating these stories of Over-the-Rhine’s recent past!


Tickets can be purchased on a “pay what you would like” donation basis at We recommend $5-10 per person. Tickets can also be purchased on site of the event starting at 6:00pm. The program will begin at 6:30pm. For those who preview to view the program virtually, we will post a live recording to


    Official Website


Additional time info:

About the speakers:

Karyl Cunningham

Originally from Toledo, Ohio, Karyl Cunningham has worked in the non-profit field for over 25 years. Karyl has always had a passion for work that is for the greater good of society, people, and the communities in which they live. She served as president/CEO of the historic Emanuel Community Center for 8 years, from 2003 to 2011, and found that her greatest achievement was re-igniting the light of Emanuel and establishing the center’s role in supporting the Over-the-Rhine community.

Karyl’s presentation will highlight the efforts she led alongside ECC staff, board members and volunteers to build up the center’s recognition, and more importantly, have it live up to a mission of purpose and impact.

Marva Payne and Levi Jones

Sweet P's Styling Shop and Skeeter’s House of Beauty, both located on the ground-floor of 1439 Elm Street, were long-term Over-the-Rhine establishments. Opened in 1974, Sweet P's was run by James Lewis, better known as “Sweet P,” and Marva’s father. The beauty shop was run by Geneva Lewis, better known as “Miss Skeeter,” Sweet P’s wife. Sweet P was still cutting hair into his eighties alongside his friend and fellow barber, Levi Jones. Levi worked with Sweet P throughout the life of the shop which served African American residents of Over-the-Rhine for over 45 years. Levi can recount the family-like environment of the shop and its prominence in the community, where it was a regular occurrence to have folks waiting for their turn to sit in one of the three barber’s chairs.

Marva’s talk will focus on the lives of Sweet P and Miss Skeeter while Levi will share his memories from his time at Sweet P’s Styling Shop.

Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert began taking photographs in Over-the-Rhine in 1971. He had a two person show with California photographer John Divola in 1977 at Camera Works Gallery in Mount Adams. Albert worked at Quality Photo Shops in Corryville from 1975 until 1982. He received a master’s degree in library science from the University of Kentucky in 1983. He worked at Wilmington College Library, Thomas More College Library and Kenton County Public Library until his retirement in 2016. In November 2021, Albert published a book entitled “Over-the-Rhine in the 1970s: A Journey into a Unique Cincinnati Neighborhood.”

Stephen’s presentation will share and discuss a selection of the nearly 100 photographs that are included in his book.


About the program:
Three Acts in Over-the-Rhine is an innovative lecture series designed to expose attendees to stories of the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood. Each event features three, fifteen-minute talks on the history of Over-the-Rhine. Presenters will answer questions together at the end about their talks.
The Over-the-Rhine Museum welcomes your support for these provocative stories. Donate online at
The Over-the-Rhine Museum inspires understanding and respect for the people who have created and lived in Cincinnati’s historic Over-the-Rhine neighborhood by working with community members to uncover, present, and preserve their stories.

* Event durations (if noted) are approximate. Please check with the presenting organization or venue to confirm start times and duration.


Memorial Hall OTR

1225 Elm Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202

Full map and directions


The most convenient parking option is directly across the street at the Washington Park Garage


    • Wheelchair Access

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