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Keep reading to learn more about how a local nonprofit is working to give at-risk youth a new outlook on life by immersing them in the arts and entertainment industry.

Arms Around Media works to immerse Cincinnati's youth in entertainment and art.

Cincy Chic: What is Arms Around Media?
Ronald Williams, Founder/Executive Director of Arms Around Media: Arms Around Media works with youth in media, film, music, theater, poetry, dance and picture art.

Cincy Chic: What’s the inspiration behind it?
Williams: This is a call for action to our community leaders, parents, schools and youth, Arms Around Media was established to bridge the gap and give youth life skills in areas they strive to be in. We have staff, board members and partners with years of experience in various arts and some back by degrees and businesses to back it up.

Cincy Chic: Tell us more about your Youth in Media program!
Williams: The “Youth In Media” program allows youth to participate in the art areas of theater, film, audio, creative writing, poetics, dance and painting. They learn hands on in a stage and studio setting. We provide a learning platform to lift their higher endeavors. Located among over 120 artist studios where creative synergy flourishes.

Cincy Chic: Where is Arms Around Media located?
Williams: Arms Around Media is at 2511 Essex Place, Suite 259 in Cincinnati.

Cincy Chic: Where can readers go to learn more?
Williams: Visit to learn more. Fill out a contact form or call 888-631-4611 ext. 1.

You can also donate to the Arms Around Media mission on the organization’s website.

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Learn about the City Slicker Sundays event series on Fountain Square, hosting local creative businesses and Art on Vine for a special artistic market.

061515SOCIALCincinnati is a hub of creative small businesses. The “City Slicker Sundays” event series on Fountain Square, which takes place every Sunday at noon, turns the heart of the city into an outdoor extravaganza showcasing these businesses, artists and designers.

Aside from the huge jumbotron broadcasting the Reds games, as well as a variety of food and drink choices, City Slicker Sundays has even more in store this year. Art on Vine will set up its special art market during the first Sunday of each month on Fountain Square.

Cincinnati native James Jenkins is the owner of Photography for the People and founder of Art on Vine, an art show that hosts events in multiple areas of Cincinnati. He and graphic designer Page Lansley are the creative minds behind this local art experience.

“The vision for Art on Vine began in 2012 from a college class project while I was studying Business Law and Film Photography. At the time, Page Lansley was my class partner, and now she’s the Art on Vine Graphic Designer and a local artist,” explains Jenkins.

The two wanted to create an experience that would be both meaningful and exciting for the city – something Cincinnati could be proud of as a sustainable outlet for artists to exhibit their work for years to come. Jenkins wanted to give artists “an opportunity to pursue their creative dreams or goals and a change to do what they love and make a living at it,” he explains.

According to Jenkins, over the past three years, Cincinnatians have responded with high praise and a strong support for its events. In fact, the company had just eight artists to start with, now has nearly 50 local artists and have hosted 30 events in just the past two years.

Not only does Art on Vine feature local artists, but they also give a large portion of their revenue to non-profit organizations in the community every month. “We love contributing to great non-profits that truly make a difference. Our first non-profit was Over-the-Rhine Community Housing (OTRCH),” says Jenkins. The contributions made to OTRCH help low-income residents get back on their feet so that they can succeed within the community. Art on Vine also makes donations to Cincinnati Senior Services and Pones, Inc.

Art on Vine will host their art markets on Fountain Square now through the beginning of October, and will then move the market back to Rhinegeist Brewery for the colder months. During the City Slicker Sunday markets, Art on Vine has a multitude of unique artistic opportunities for the community to engage.

Jenkins says these events allow attendees to not only enjoy the art, but also interact with the local artists. Having one-on-one encounters with artists is how to “find out what inspired them to create the work,” Jenkins explains. “The artist has the chance to meet and learn from consumers, and to share ideas that can inspire them to create the perfect and personal piece.”

To learn ore about Art on Vine, visit, and visit for City Slicker Sunday event details and times for the Art on Vine markets.

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Two artists-turned-relaxation enthusiasts are launching a weekend retreat to help you reconnect with yourself and your talents. Learn more about this life-changing event and how you can get involved.

Anna Sokol and Catherine Derrow, the dynamic duo behind The Inspired Soul Retreat

Imagine heading out for a weekend to soak in the natural beauty of Hocking Hills while reconnecting with yourself and your talents. Sound nice? Inspired Soul Retreat is designed to do just that, and it’s coming up September 24-27 at the Fallswood Lodge in Hocking Hills, Ohio.

“The Inspired Soul Retreat is a unique opportunity for creative women to take a break from their busy schedules to rejuvenate and create,” says Anna Sokol, one of the event’s hostesses and the owner of Art with Anna, an art studio in Bexley, Ohio. “Participants of all experiences levels are encouraged to attend. It’s a chance to turn off the electronics, get away from the hustle and bustle and just breathe.”

The retreat is co-hosted by Sokol and Catherine Derrow, an enthusiastic and dynamic teacher who promises to bring plenty of energy to the classes she’ll be teaching at the Inspired Soul Retreat. “It’s designed to honor and build up each participant and to help each person find their own best self,” Sokol explains.

The Inspired Soul Retreat is a dream come true for Sokol and Derrow. Sokol is an accomplished artist and entrepreneur who wanted to make more time for relaxation, exercise and yoga as her business’ success continued to grow. Derrow, a busy yoga and fitness instructor, found an inner desire to express herself creatively through art. Together, the duo felt they each had something unique to offer, and from which, other women would benefit.

Sokol says that guests attending the Inspired Soul Retreat will have a variety of sessions and classes to enjoy throughout the weekend. There will be two sessions of yoga each day, a more invigorating practice in the morning and a relaxing session in the evening. She says each day will start off with a guided meditation.

The group will complete an art project each day to help you tap into your creative, inspired soul, she says. “The lessons provided will begin to build upon the next to have a complete masterpiece at the end of our retreat,” Sokol explains, adding that participants should be willing to take risks and possibly make mistakes as part of the learning process.

You’ll also have time to be inside your own mind each day. There will plenty of time in the afternoon to relax on the deck of the lodge, read a book, take a hike, chat with new friends or explore something new on your own.

The cost to participate in the Inspired Soul Retreat is $399 per “yogartist” as the duo calls their event participants.

To learn more about the Inspired Soul Retreat or to purchase your ticket, click here.

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A local lady made her dreams of teaching and owning her own art studio a reality. See how she can help you learn a fun new skill while hosting your next girls night!

Robin Ewers, owner of Dogwood Art Studio
Robin Ewers, owner of Dogwood Art Studio

Looking for a cozy place to create, fun date night, or a unique activity for you and friends to enjoy? Check out Dogwood Art Studio. The business, owned by Robin Ewers, is a place for art education, customized for your needs and occasion – from birthday celebrations and bachelorette parties to team-building experiences and earning Girl Scout badges.

“The inspiration behind Dogwood Art Studio was that I wanted a public place where art and people of all ages and skill levels can live harmoniously,” explains Ewers. “I’ve always wanted to teach, and I’ve always wanted to own my own business, so I decided to put the two together and voila!”

Ewers loves that she’s able to inspire people of any age, but has a special place in her heart for impacting youth. “I love showing young artists that you really can do what you love and follow your dreams and be successful, too,” Ewers explains.

Currently, the Wine+Paint parties are Ewers’ most popular offering. These parties are $30 per guest and include a 16×20 canvas, the use of studio paints, brushes, easels, palettes and aprons. “These parties allow participants to create fun works of art with the guidance of an artist – no experience necessary,” Ewers says. “Unlike other studios, we cater specifically to private parties so you’re only painting with the people you know.”

Birthday party pricing varies from $15-$30 per person depending on the age range of participants and selected canvas size. Ewers says she offers a 10 percent discount for all active and retired members of the Armed Forces.

Parties can be scheduled weeknights from 6:30pm-8:30pm or 7-9pm. Saturdays are also available with the first spot opening at 11am up until 5pm. “Our parties last anywhere from and hour and a half to two hours long,” Ewers adds. “Also, the studio can fit up to 10 people at a time, but 6-8 people will ensure your comfort in the studio.”

If you’re more interested in a one-on-one art class, Ewers offers that as well. “That way I can spend more time working with a student to really give them the attention they need and deserve,” she adds.

Students who take art classes at Dogwood Art Studio are given a specialized curriculum that’s been laid out so that it’s specific to their interests. Pencils, charcoal, watercolors, markers, oils and acrylics are all available for use in the classes. “I hope to eventually add group art classes,” she explains.

There are also seasonal events Ewers puts on throughout the year. “Open-House type painting events for Halloween, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and more,” she says.

Speaking of Valentine’s Day, she’s hosting Valentine’s Paint Date event on February 14, which you can learn more about on Facebook. Additionally, Ewers says she plans to introduce new painting options for parties and more art classes revolving around charcoals and watercolor mediums. People of all ages and skill levels can look forward to new crafty, fun classes soon to be released. Also, in the future, Ewers hopes to implement after-school art programs for students in the area who are interested in taking their art to a new level or even just need a space to create with guidance from an artist.

Dogwood Art Studio is located at 4426 Brazee Street, Unit 1O, Cincinnati, OH 45208. The studio is inside Brazee Street Studios and can be found on the first floor of the main building. To learn more about Dogwood Art Studio, visit, “like” them on Facebook, or watch the exclusive webcast below.

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    From braids and blooms, sewing and screen printing, to drinks and jewelry design, Shoppe Class has you covered. Learn about this new network of Cincinnati creatives who share their talents and abilities with others through monthly classes that help participants live a more creative and productive life.

    Shoppe Class
    From braids and blooms, sewing and screen printing, to drinks and jewelry design, Shoppe Class has you covered. Learn about this new network of Cincinnati creatives who share their talents and abilities with others through monthly classes that help participants live a more creative and productive life.

    Did you make a New Year’s Resolution to try something new? Well, this might be the year you actually keep a resolution, thanks to Shoppe Class.

    Shoppe Class is a network of creatives in the Tri-State who want to share their talents and abilities with others through monthly classes that focus on passing on some skill useful for living a more creative and productive life.

    From the "Sew & Steady" class in August 2014
    “Sew & Steady” class in August 2014

    Julie Otten takes care of the day-to-day operations at Cincinnati’s Shoppe Class. She’s in charge of everything from coming up with class ideas and seeking out instructors to promoting events on social media, running registration and even sourcing and ordering all the supplies for the classes. “Basically, the unglamorous backend stuff that actually makes it so we can have classes,” explains Otten.

    “Classes are small, hands-on and concise,” explains Otten. “At Shoppe Class, you’ll leave each session held in the café space of Essex Art Studios having learned a new skill that helps to expand your creative side.”

    Also behind the scenes at Shoppe Class is Alex Larrison, who helps with the brainstorming of what classes are hosted. “She has also recently taken over finding local businesses to sponsor our classes,” explains Otten. “Most importantly, she completely legitimizes the whole undertaking by photographing everything from the images we use to launch our classes to the actual classes themselves so we can blog about it. Her husband Corey also makes amazing videos for us as well.”

    When the day of a Shoppe Class arrives, husbands, family and friends are there to help set up, baby sit, greet students when they walk in the door and even clean up the space at the end of the evening. “And since we don’t make any profit off of the classes, they do it all because they like us a whole lot – or because we send out emails begging for their help,” jokes Otten.

    "I Screen You Screen" class in Oct. 2014
    “I Screen You Screen” class in Oct. 2014

    Local creatives teach the Shoppe Class classes while local businesses sponsor each session. Some of the current and past sponsors of Shoppe Class include High Five Salon, Erin Barker, Sunshine Caramel Company, Noble Denim, Steam Whistle Letterpress, Lighting Horse Industries, Brown Bear Bakery, Epipheo, Rock Paper Scissors, DIY Printing, Tommy Ink, Powerhouse Factories, CG Ceramics and Frameshop USA.

    The first Shoppe Class was held in June 2014 and has become a much larger project than Otten and Larrison initially expected or intended. Currently, they offer creative classes that teach replicable skills, on which students can build. “For example, we always wanted to know how to make a really good cocktail, so we found the most creative bartender in Cincinnati and had him teach a Mixology class on three of his favorite drinks,” explains Otten.

    During that class, everyone learned what goes into make a tasty Old Fashioned and were able to have hands-on experience making, and drinking, their own cocktails. Students also went home with a full bar set so they could go back and make drinks for their friends, allowing them to enjoy and share their new skill.

    The classes taught at Shoppe Class are meant to be creative and unique. Through this, Otten and Larrison hope that Shoppe Class spotlights the wealth of creative talent in Cincinnati. To help foster that creativity and skill building, Otten adds that students are sent home with supplies from the class so they can continue to work on the skill.

    "Fellowship of the Bling" class in Jan. 2015
    “Fellowship of the Bling” class in Jan. 2015

    There is a fee for each class, and it varies depending on the tools and materials necessary. Otten says that Shoppe Class doesn’t profit from these classes; the fees solely compensate the instructor and pay for supplies. “We don’t believe in money, just Bitcoin,” she laughs. The fee for each course is listed online and paid for when you register, and varies depending on the course offered.

    Registration for Shoppe Class takes place at the beginning of each month. Classes are held on the last Saturday of the month and most cases sell out within the first morning of registration opening. “So those who can get themselves into a class are super pumped,”Otten laughs.

    All students typically show up about 15 minutes before the class starts. All the supplies are also set out so they can just grab a seat and get ready to learn. “It seems less intimidating learning a new skill if all you have to do is show up and not worry about buying the right supplies or equipment,” says Otten. “Each instructor handles their class differently but there is usually an introduction to what is being taught and then we just dive right in.”

    Otten adds that they encourage questions and getting one-on-one time with the instructor so participants can build their confidence in what they’re learning.

    “At the end of the class, there are usually giveaways thanks to local small businesses that Shoppe Class has partnered with so some lucky students get to walk away with serious swag,” says Otten. “Our goal is to make it an experience that people leave feeling like they got some major bang for their buck. We work very hard to go above and beyond what people expect so they leave blown away by their experience and wanting to come back for another class.”

    insightly new year chic publicationOtten says there are several exciting things on Shoppe Class’ horizon. While their classes are typically held at Essex Art Studios, this leaves out the opportunity to teach things that involve heavy machinery, a kitchen, giant letter press or any craft or trade that involves tools or supplies that go beyond the budget of what a normal class entails (approximately $150). It’s because of this, Otten says, that Shoppe Class is getting ready to launch “Field Trip.”

    “While our focus with Shoppe Class is to learn and create, the focus of Field Trip is to go and make,” explains Otten. “This means we can have workshops that focus on having an experience rather than strictly learning a skill that students can replicate on their own.

    Rather than have students and instructors come to Essex, Otten explains that the class will be held at an artist’s workspace, studio, kitchen or other space to experience the craft on the creator’s own turf. Otten adds that they hope to partner with local artists and businesses in the upcoming months to offer additional workshops outside the once-a-month Shoppe Class.

    Otten says that the best way to stop up to date on what’s going on at Shoppe Class is to follow them on Instagram or visit “Our website shows all of our current and past classes and instructors and answers all the FAQs folks normally have,” says Otten. “You can also send an email if you can’t find what you’re looking for on the website, follow along on the blog to see what the actual classes looked like.”

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    Read on to learn more about a local non-profit organization that’s providing studio space and teaching opportunities to visual artists with disabilities.

    Chic Spotlight: Visionaries + Voices’ Art Classes
    Read on to learn more about a local non-profit organization that’s providing studio space and teaching opportunities to visual artists with disabilities.

    Virginia and Emily making prints at Visionaries + Voices
    Virginia and Emily making prints at Visionaries + Voices

    Cincy Chic: What is Visionaries + Voices?

    Jamie Muenzer, Education Director at Visionaries + Voices: Established in 2003, Visionaries + Voices is a non-profit organization that provides studio space, exhibition opportunities, supplies and support to more than 125 visual artists with disabilities. V+V artists actively contribute to the greater arts community through creative, educational, and strategic partnerships with local and regional artists, schools, and business leaders. Collectively, we are growing a more inclusive arts community in Greater Cincinnati.

    Cincy Chic: What types of art do you do at Visionaries + Voices?

    Muenzer: Artists in the studios use a variety of different mediums, techniques and explore many different subject matters. Including: painting on paper, wood, and canvas, drawing, ceramics, print making, photography, sculpture, assemblage, papier mache, mixed media, mosaics and collage.

    Cincy Chic: Tell us more about the art classes offered by Visionaries + Voices!

    Muenzer: As part of our commitment to making contemporary art a part of daily life, Visionaries + Voices has partnered with 21c Museum Hotel to present free monthly art classes in the gallery spaces at 21c. On the 3rd Sunday of every month from 5:00 to 6:30pm, explore the work of a different V+V Teaching Artist as they lead you through a hands-on activity.

    Each presenting artist has graduated from Visionaries + Voices Teaching Artist Program (TAP). TAP is a 30-week in-house visual arts training program that gives artists with disabilities the opportunity to learn how to speak and teach about their artwork. The primary goal of TAP is to expose students to new ways of thinking, making and doing through art. But it also has a secondary goal – to ask students to consider the idea of “disability” and who they view as leaders and teachers. For more information about V+V Teaching Artist program please contact me at


    Cincy Chic: When can readers check out upcoming classes?

    Muenzer: February 15: Explore the meditative drawing method of Zentangles that artist, Neil Dignan, has adopted into almost all of his work. Neil’s intricate drawings sprawl out over everyday objects, from cups to chairs to plates and skateboards. Using repetitive lines and shapes, create a stained glass piece using glass, paint markers + sharpies.

    March 15: Artist Kevin White incorporates pop cans, cardboard, fabric and other materials into multi-dimensional found object sculptures and paintings. From bins of recycled materials, participants will collage and draw using unconventional materials to create 3D works on canvas or sculpture.

    Cincy Chic: How much does it cost to attend an art class?

    Muenzer: Free! Art classes are open to the public and all ages. For adult class participants, 21c Metropole provides drink specials – $5 Local Draft Beer or an $8 Specialty Cocktail.

    Cincy Chic: Is there anything new on the horizon for Visionaries + Voices?

    Muenzer: [CON]TEXT exhibition opens on Thursday, Feb. 19, 2015 from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. at V+V 3841 Spring Grove Avenue in Cincinnati and runs through April 15. [CON]TEXT will spin tales of fact and fiction leading the viewer to question what is language and what has evolved to a beautiful mark.

    To accompany this exhibition, Visionaries + Voices and WordPlay Northside have worked collaboratively to create 2 distinctive programs to run concurrent to (Con)Text during our Collective Vision Open Studio Thursdays, held the last Thursday of every month at our Northside location:

    · On Thursday, February 26 from 6:00 to 8:00p.m., Visionaries + Voices will host “Louder than Bombs,” A National Poetry Slam for teenaged writers. Come to our Northside location to hear some very talented young poets participate in the competition.

    · On Thursday, March 26 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., Visionaries + Voices hosts “Ekphrastic Poetry and Children’s Responses to Art.” Elementary-aged school children will be visiting the exhibition and then returning to WordPlay to write ekphrastic poetry: poetry in response to art. They will return to the gallery to perform the work that they’ve created in response to the [CON]TEXT exhibition. Exhibition runs thru April 17, 2015. All Exhibitions and Programs are free and open to the public.

    Double Vision 6 opens April 10, 2015 at Memorial Hall. Returning to Memorial Hall in its 6th year, our annual art auction fundraiser Double Vision represents the culmination of Collective Vision: Pairs Well With. We’ll be raising awareness and money to support activities and programs at V+V.

    Open Studios: The V+V Northside studio opens its doors to the community the last Thursday of every month from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., inviting everyone to come in and make art.

    If you’d like more information on our exhibition program, please contact Krista at

    Cincy Chic: Where can readers go to learn more?

    Muenzer: Find us at or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.