Art is accessible and belongs to everyone. There sometimes can be a sense that art appreciation means being able to saunter into a high-end gallery and casually purchase a $3,000 painting or to stroll through the Neo-Classic section of the Art Museum and be able to tell the difference between a Restout and a Trumbull. However, art exists to fit every budget, background and taste. Just as easily you can show your love for art by buying a handmade necklace or a hand-sewn journal. In fact, you can even make and sell arts and crafts yourself!
One quick and easy way to browse handmade art offerings is online at etsy.com. This Web site provides a good introduction to a wide variety of crafts and an inspiration to see the amazing creativity that is out there. Many local artists sell their work on Etsy, and it’s a fun way to gift-shop, while knowing you are supporting an individual artist.
However, the best way to find art or places to show your own creations is to hit the streets. Many galleries, such as Red Tree Gallery, a cute coffee shop/gallery in Oakley, have regular exhibits and open calls. By signing up for their e-mail list, you can be alerted whenever there is an opportunity to submit work or to see an exhibit. Redtree also sells handmade gifts, such as T-shirts, purses and other little one-of-a-kind items, which is typical of many small shops and boutiques. Often, artists and crafters also have the option to sell goods on consignment, where the shop owner keeps a percentage of the money from each item sold.
Coffee shops and small restaurants in general can often be good places to display or see art. Rohs Street Cafe, Bean Haus, Kaldi’s Coffeehouse, Myra’s Dionysus and Melt are all examples of venues that routinely rotate their art offerings.
This is just scratching the surface of easily accessible art opportunities. There are entire shops dedicated to showcasing the talent of local artists and crafters. One great example of this is Indigenous, a gallery in O’Bryonville that bridges the gap between art and craft with an eclectic array of contemporary American fine craft from more than 145 artists and all types of media: hot-worked glass, metal, pottery, jewelry, fiber arts, prints, wood craft, mosaics, paintings and stained glass. Most pieces range in price between $15 and $300, but some pieces are priced as low as $5 and as high as $750.
“Artists featured at Indigenous employ a blend of traditional methods and contemporary design, all honoring the unique qualities imparted when an object is made by hand,” Indigenous Owner Diane Christian Budd says.
Artists whose work is sold at Indigenous work on consignment, so they are paid when someone buys one of their works.We seek to promote Indigenous as a natural link between the public and the arts and strive to connect customers and artists who share our appreciation for the arts and respect for the American handmade tradition,” Budd says. Local artists who are interested in selling at Indigenous should mail or e-mail photographs of10 samples of their work. With the photographs, the artists should include prices, creation process, materials used, artistic background information and other locations where they sell their artwork. Artists’ works are evaluated based on their originality, craftsmanship, marketability and overall aesthetic appeal. “On average, we accept two to three new artists per month, with new work arriving almost daily. There’s always something new to see,” Budd says.
Another great way to see local art is at festivals, craft fairs and gallery walks. An Internet search or a quick browse through the classifieds of the daily paper are an easy way to find these constantly occurring artwork opportunities. As the holiday season approaches, they will be occurring even more frequently. Some great standard art events include the First Friday Gallery Hop in Bellevue, Covington and Newport and the Final Friday walk in downtown Cincinnati. Also coming up on Oct. 3 and 4 is the Essex Art Walk. Essex contains studios for more than 100 artists, and they periodically have a huge open house. If you’ve never been, it’s definitely worth checking out.
Perhaps one of the most unique art shows coming up is not only a visual art event, but also a gigantic concert. At the annual World Music Fest, coming up on Oct. 11 at The Southgate House, 18 artists will participate in a multimedia exhibit in the upstairs gallery, with works ranging from paintings and photography to lithography and film. There also will be a total of 18 groups performing international music on each floor of the historic mansion — all in one night!
The lineup includes an amazing selection of local bands playing everything from Medieval music to reggae to Celtic folk and Latin jazz. There are also some special guests on the roster, including authentic Mardi Gras Indians from New Orleans, a Brazilian guitarist and a Puerto Rican percussionist, who is headlining with the nine-piece Latin jazz band Poco Loco. There will also be a Latin dance performance and free Salsa lessons by Salsa Underground. The show goes from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. (doors open at 7 p.m.) and costs $15 presale, $20 at the door. Tickets are available at The Southgate House Web site, and more information can be found at the World Music Fest Web site. The event benefits the nonprofit organization Big Joe Duskin Music Education Foundation, which sends musicians to perform in public schools.
Again, this is just a small smattering of arts opportunities in Cincinnati. Art in the Tri-State is eminently accessible — it’s everywhere, happening all the time and is usually quite affordable, even free! Whether you are an aspiring artist or an arts aficionado to be, why not put on your “art shoes” and take a peek around town? Once you start becoming aware of all the amazing art in town, the adventure never ends.
Photo: Neysa Ruhl Photography
Location: The McAlpin
Model: Jen Pritchard of Your Wedding by Jen
Makeup Artistry: Chenese Bean Makeup Artistry
Hair Styling: Robin Howard, Ruckus Glamour Studios