Otto M. Budig Jr., Arts Patron and Philanthropist
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Midwest Master of the Impossible

A great builder of dreams took the stage in the Music Hall Ballroom Wednesday evening to accept the 2018 AFC Apple Award for making them realities. The Architectural Foundation of Cincinnati knows where and how a structure will best be supported and in that knowledge, credited and presented Otto M. Budig Jr. with this auspicious award, where before a grateful crowd, he humbly accepted. Quoting Einstein, he said
Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you anywhere.

Otto’s imagination it seems, has allowed so many organizations to reach far beyond A, in order to achieve Z.
In Music Hall Ballroom
SPMH was one of the early sponsors for this event. Our organization understands the importance of honoring a man who made it entirely possible to be standing in the very room where we celebrated.
The Architectural Foundation of Cincinnati's Apple Award Gala
The Architectural Foundation of Cincinnati’s Apple Award Gala in Music Hall’s Ballroom
By 2015 Music Hall needed a coordinated effort to be restored. Over the course of a dozen prior years the basis for MHRC (Music Hall Revitalization Company) spread wide under the wingspan of Mr. Budig as Board President.
Buildings are the steel and stone fingers pointing towards the heavens, beckoning our future, applauding our past.
As it is our mission to protect and preserve this iconic structure, these words spoken by Otto Budig tonight, mirror our organization’s commitment to Music Hall.
Making an Impact for the Arts
A true lover of theatre and arts in the community, Otto realized the practical role he could play, when time and resources allowed, by sharing his talents to better serve and deliver the gift of the arts to so many. Quoting Walt Disney he said, “Its kind of fun to do the impossible.” And isn’t that what Otto M. Budig has done time and again for Cincinnati?
Recounting the story of Reuben Springer and Samuel Hannaford imagining and building the beginnings of CIncinnati Music Hall, it isn’t difficult to understand that like those great citizens before him, Otto has laid the foundation for greatness in this city by his active philanthropy. The landscape here has blossomed for all his attention and through his contributions we each can better stop, and smell the roses.
Mr. Budig. a longtime supporter of Ensemble Theatre, on Vine Street, envisioned a top-notch performance space with relevant, poignant reach into the community. His belief made it happen.
Despite early rejection, Jay Woffington practiced strategic tenacity on behalf of the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company. We were all rewarded when his pursued dream of a new stage for his players was eventually made a reality through Otto’s efforts.
The Carnegie Theatre in northern Kentucky shared a similar story of a dimly-lit possibility that only a true visionary could breathe life into and today a community celebrates its presence.
The Cincinnati Zoo has also greatly benefited from this level of active support. Thayne Maynard praised Otto’s work and passion as the bellwether for the Cincinnati Zoo, especially the beloved Manatee Springs that not only amply houses the manatees we Cincinnatians love, but also provides homes that many other Florida species enjoy.
Otto M. Budig Jr.
Otto M. Budig Jr. accepting the Architectural Foundation of Cincinnati’s 2018 Apple Award
Mr. Budig quoted other innovators throughout his speech, describing the path and partners that led to his many accomplishments in both the arts and architecture.  Perhaps his own words tell the story best.

Working on projects such as Music Hall and so many other projects, envisioning renewed greatness for our city, collaborating with artists and builders, toiling in the trenches of fundraising and problem solving, celebrating the moments when dreams become real – that’s the architecture of a rich life.

And indeed we are all richer for it.
As D. Lynn Myers of Ensemble Theatre best surmised, “Otto is the mortar in these bricks” and without him none of this stands.
A grateful city embraces your legacy and offers sincere thanks to you Otto Budig.
– Holly Brians Ragusa
SPMH Board of Directors