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Arts patron Lois Rosenthal has died

University of Cincinnati

If you've ever visited the Cincinnati Art Museum and noticed you didn't have to pay admission, you have Lois and Richard Rosenthal to thank.

Lois Rosenthal died peacefully Sunday at the age of 75, according to an obituary in the New York Times.

Enthusiastic patrons of the arts, the Rosenthals' art museum endowment ensures no one has to ever pay admission. The Contemporary Arts Center also bears their names as does the Ohio Innocence Project at the University of Cincinnati, which has exonerated 17 wrongly convicted people.

Lois Rosenthal was a writer and and editor, authoring seven books and leading the re-launch of the literary magazine "Story."

"...her work, her efforts, her engagement, and her dedication to the Greater Cincinnati area is almost without peer." Otto Budig

The UC alumna also served on the boards of the Playhouse in the Park, the Museum Center and the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.

In a statement, Playhouse in the Park Managing Director Buzz Ward says, “Lois was an indefatigable force for good in our community. Her generosity of spirit touched and improved the lives of countless people and made Greater Cincinnati a better place to live for everyone. The Playhouse was lucky to be among those institutions that benefited from Lois’ passion. Few people have had such a profound and lasting effect on the Playhouse. She will be deeply missed.”

Fellow longtime arts benefactor Otto Budig says while diplomacy was never her strong suit, Rosenthal was an unparalleled champion of Cincinnati.

"Her verve and her passion for this community transcended any other person in this community I've known," says Budig. "So, she's going to be missed a lot. Because her work, her efforts, her engagement, and her dedication to the Greater Cincinnati area is almost without peer."

He adds of all her work, Rosenthal was perhaps most satisfied with helping establish the Ohio Innocence Project.

Rosenthal joined CET's Barbara Kellar for this 2006 interview, courtesy of CET.


Senior Editor and reporter at WVXU with more than 20 years experience in public radio; formerly news and public affairs producer with WMUB. Would really like to meet your dog.