The Cincinnati Black Music Walk of Fame

Landscape Architecture & Community Planning – Implementation

Project Narrative

The Cincinnati Black Music Walk of Fame celebrates the profound impact on music, history, and culture of its African-American community. This public park brings together people of all ages and cultures to dance, sing, and learn about local black musicians who have changed this city and the world with their music. Annual induction ceremonies will unite the community in honoring groundbreaking musical legends.

Spanning all musical genres, the Walk consists of accessible ramps and landings that traverse the 14’ grade change from sidewalk level to the entrance of the adjacent Andrew J Brady Music Center and Smale Park Event Lawn. The design is a response to contextual site conditions. A radial grid overlay mediates the angle of Mehring Way and the Brady, forming the geometrical structure of the Walk. Elements are deployed to support the program, with dynamic morphologies influenced by the adjacent architecture.

The integration of nature with the black granite hardscape enriches the experience. The landscape evokes a native meadow through a carefully crafted plant community. Ornamental grasses provide a structural framework, while flowering perennials and bulbs create vibrant pops of color that add rhythm and syncopation and multi-seasonal interest. The groundcovers unify, connecting the elements and creating a harmonious understory layer.

At twilight, a light show turns the site into a symphony of colors and interactive experiences, set to a soulful soundtrack. Features include Augmented Reality, an Interactive Drum tied to adjacent fountain lighting, Dance Floor Monitors, Video Screens, and 13 Kiosks to listen to and learn about the artists.

The project required intense collaboration among the architects, landscape architects, interactive experience designers, MEP/AV consultants, and contractors, especially given the mere 23-month schedule, a site within the Ohio River floodplain, sophisticated AV/electronics, and building the north half atop a garage structure.


Project Details

Submission Category

Landscape Architecture & Community Planning – Implementation

Date of Completion

July, 2023

Submitting Firm Name

michael mcinturf ARCHITECTS, The Kleingers Group, THP Limited, and JRA

Project Team

Landscape Architect

The Kleingers Group


Michael McInturf Architects (Design), THP Limited (Record)


Messer Construction, MBJ, DNK, Heapy Engineering

Innovation Alley Installation Designer



Universal Contracting Corporation