The CAC is a non-collecting organization, focusing on providing changing arts experiences that "challenge, entertain and educate".
The CAC provides experiences through exhibitions and performances as well as educational and outreach programs, to engage and interact with the art, artists, and ideas of our time. Working with a regional community of visitors, patrons, and partners, and with a global community of artists and institutions, the CAC explores and celebrates the unfolding landscape of art and expression.
In 1939, Peggy Frank Crawford, Betty Pollack and Rita Rentschler raised $5000 and created the Modern Art Society (MAS). Within a few years, the MAS had exhibited Renoir, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Picasso, Beckman, Klee and many more in the lower levels of the Cincinnati Art Museum. In 1952, the MAS changed their name to the Contemporary Arts Center and in 1964 they earned a space of their own in downtown, Cincinnati.
In 2003, the CAC moved into the Lois & Richard Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art by architect Zaha Hadid. The NY Times called the structure, “the best new building since the Cold War.”