Inspired by the artistic beauty that makes Cincinnati so colorful, two local entrepreneurs set out to highlight and tell the stories of the city’s makers and creators. Learn more about this story-telling dynamic duo, the resource they’ve created, and how they’re now expanding its reach to neighboring cities.
While it may not be obvious to everyone, Cincinnati is truly an art destination. To help others realize the density of the arts community, local artist and writer Megan Bickel and photographer Cassandra Zetta Niehaus launched a collaborative, non-profit style, bi-monthly online arts publication called Five-Dots.
“We started Five-Dots in July 2016 with the intent of opening up the lines of conversation between artists, makers, curators, and the public,” explains Bickel.
Bickel and Niehaus use their publication to speak with a variety of members from Cincinnati’s creative community. “We speak about their work, process, ideas, concerns about their community, and workspace as a means to discuss greater general topics such as the politics of being a creative entrepreneur, the financial and social risks of taking up non-traditional work paths, and how it affects them for the better and worse,” adds Bickel.
This dynamic duo was inspired to launch Five-Dots after encounter other online publications such as Two Coats of Pain by Sharon Butler in New York and In-the-Make by Klea McKenna and writer Nikki Grattan in addition to several arts podcasts, and seeing that man people outside the arts community in Cincinnati had no idea just how abundant the arts are in the city.
“We wanted to create a platform that was engaging, stimulating, and thoughtful without being intimidating,” says Bickel. “We wanted to challenge without being confrontational.”
Five-Dots started out as a project based out of Cincinnati, however, Bickel says it will continue to grow in the next months to include Louisville, Lexington, and other areas in the region.
Today, Five-Dots published interviews on artists, printmakers, designers, and curators, thanks to the growth since since launching just over six months ago.
This unique take on the artistic community in Cincinnati is one of the city’s best kept secrets. “We provide a service to creaties and non-creatives alike in that we bring the lofty, 20th century ideas of what an artist is and we bring it down to earth,” says Bickel. “We want the general public to see that being in the creative industry is like no other. The people we interview are their own product generators, marketers, publishers, shippers, accountants, and in general, badasses that own every single component of their practice.”
The goal of Five-Dots is to introduce the general community the wonder, freedom, and obligation that comes along with being an artist, maker, and curator. “Five-Dots hopes to encourage others to dive into what makes them happiest,” adds Bickel. “Because, at the end of the day, you are the biggest contribution to your community when you do what you do best,”
You can expect to see content from Five-Dots continuing to be published in the coming months. Bickel says the two will launch a few interviews in the coming months with several international online galleries while hoping to open up the question, “what is regional within the context of the Internet?”
Five-Dots can be found within the blog section of Made in Cincinnati and will soon be found through a co-launching program with AEQAI, in which Five-Dots will share selected relevant content from each other’s publications.
Bickel adds that Five-Dots is also always taking submissions from creatives in the area, and those who are interested in submitting can visit www.five-dots.com to fill out the contact form.
To learn more about Five-Dots, visit www.five-dots.com. The two launches new interviews every first and final Friday of the month. You can also follow along on Instagram and Facebook for updates on launches and to learn more about the interviewees highlighted.