Brazee Street Studios
is a driving force behind efforts to raise awareness of art happenings in Oakley and surrounding neighborhoods. The resource center houses the Brazee Street School of Glass, Gallery One One and more than 20 artist studios. Now it's looking to expand on those efforts and reach out to art businesses beyond Oakley.
Let's start with the most immediate effort: Oakley After Hours, which was rescheduled to avoid conflicts with other art events in the Cincinnati area. Happening 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday, April 8, the event highlights businesses in the neighborhood, mainly along Madison Road and Oakley Square. It's organized by the Oakley Community Council
and happens the second Friday of each month through August. Brazee and other art houses such as Redtree Art Gallery
and Coffee Shop and The Brush Factory
will stay open later than usual.
"Brazee has been really excited about the support we've received in Oakley from families and artists," says creative director Leah Busch. "It's a nice eastside vantage point. We're just trying to be a bulls eye for art here."
Collage artist Sara Pearce, a former arts editor at the Enquirer, rents a studio space at Brazee. She had approached Oakley Community Council about moving Oakley After Hours, formerly happening the last Friday of each month, to the second Friday. The move was inspired by Redtree, which had been keeping its doors open then.
The "2nd Friday" concept works, she says, because it doesn't conflict with Final Fridays
in Over-the-Rhine or First Fridays
"It just seemed like an opportunity to carve a new niche on a different weekend," Pearce says.
Councilmembers Lindsay Hooks and Gina Brenner are planning After Hours. Hooks says places like Brazee, Country Club art gallery
and Voltage furniture are developing the neighborhood's identity as an arts district.
"I'm really hoping that (After Hours) brings more awareness to what we have here," she says.
Brazee will open its artist studios from 7 to 9 p.m. April 8. It's previewing a new concept, too. Called "Art Between the Lines," an outdoor market for artists, designers, food vendors, event organizers and non-profits. They can purchase a nine foot by eight foot space outside the studios.
Busch says Brazee is in the "infant stage" of organizing an art walk that weaves through Oakley, Hyde Park, Madisonville, O'Bryonville, or "pinpoints eastside art destinations on (and around) Madison Road."
The visionaries behind this effort include Busch, Pearce, and Lisa Merida-Paytes and Tom Funke of Funke Fired Arts, based on Wasson Road.
"It seems like there is a lot of going on in eastside art, but there's no unifying thread," Busch says. "There's no web site you can go to; there's no postcard that says 'Here are the hotspots where you can see.' We want to make it a 'You can make a night out of it' idea."
Writer: Rich ShivenerPhotography by Scott Beseler.