See how one artistic couple plans to bring the West End community together through art.
Inspired by the lack of any community art based programming in the West End and their own love of art, Tia Brown and her husband Michael, decided to create their own way for residents and visitors to the West End to have access to the arts.
In May 2016, the Browns, both self-taught artists, officially founded West End Art Gallery, “an art gallery and center where the community can experience and explore art. We believe art can glue families and the community together,” explains Tia Brown, the Executive Director of the West End Art Gallery.
West End Art Gallery makes a point to get involved in the community. Every month, West End Art Gallery hosts workshops, with themes such as acrylic painting, painting wearables, knitting and sewing basics, and a West End photo walk. Future workshops will have themes such as jewelry making, origami, graffiti, and illustration.
“We like to attend community events in and around the West End to engage the residents and bring community art activity to events, such as, paint and peels and paint by numbers,” Brown says. “It gives us a chance to connect, get feedback on workshops they would like to attend, and let them know who we are. We have attended a number of events with the Seven Hills Neighborhood House, Carl H. Lindner YMCA, and Mortar Cincinnati.” She adds, “And by keeping the WEAG a family-friendly space, [patrons] can create art of their own while helping to build community.”
West End Art Gallery also stays involved in the community in more behind-the-scenes ways. “We try to stay involved in the West End by attending West End Community Council meetings, West End Business Association meetings, and starting to help to coordinate mural projects in the West End,” Brown says.
As of now, the West End Art Gallery does not have a brick and mortar location, but the Browns are currently applying for grants and asking hometown art lovers and philanthropists for donations toward funding their own space for the West End Art Gallery. “Our sights are set on the old First German Reformed Church on Freeman in the West End,” Brown explains. “We have been working with a DAAP student who is designing the space for us. It has been an exciting process to see the space digitally brought back to life and we look forward to moving forward with the renovations to bring ownership and pride back to this historic building.”