Family-owned art store in Over-the-Rhine turns 100

Over-the-Rhine is a neighborhood that’s seen many changes. From economic uncertainties to tragedy and civil unrest to a boom of entrepreneurship and urban development, Suders Art Store has been there through all of the ups and downs.

When you first walk into Suders, bright visuals grab your attention. Gold frames and rich paintings on the wall. Rows of chalks, pigments, colored pencils, and more call for an artist to pick them up and take them home. There’s a friendly cat lounging in the sunspot of the front window. It’s an art store that invites you to create.

Beginning in 1924, it was mainly a frame shop and gallery. John Suder Sr. purchased a frame shop, Bittelmeyer's, at 1331 Vine St. in Cincinnati and changed the shop’s name. You can still see ‘Shirt Manufacturers’ above the entrance beam from the tailor shop that was there before John Suder, Sr. took over. Sharon Suder, third-generation owner shares, “We haven’t changed much of the building. I think history is important to keep if you can.” The store has been family-owned since 1924, celebrating its centennial this year.

The store has been family-owned since 1924.

Suders is known for carrying those hard-to-find pigments, papers, and paints for Cincinnati’s professional and aspiring artists as well as its own private parking lot in OTR. Long-time employees Ros Boles, Charles Frymier, and Crews McCulloch provide expert advice on framing, art materials, restoration, and more. Everything a person would need to create and display art can be found within the walls of the store.

Suders is an informal gathering space and important resource for the Cincinnati art community. The Art Academy of Cincinnati is two blocks away, and students visit Suders on a regular basis. From 1989-2004, Suders operated a satellite location in the school when it was adjacent to the Cincinnati Art Museum, introducing art students to quality art materials and gaining loyal customers. 

Visit Suders in person on Vine Street or shop online at Suders Art Store
Enjoy this story? Sign up for free solutions-based reporting in your inbox each week.

Read more articles by Miyah Byrd.

Miyah Byrd is a storyteller and advocate based in Ohio. Her work has been featured in KIIONA Magazine, Forge, Human Parts, and ThriveGlobal. She is a former educator whose interests include food insecurity, green energy, and the self-sufficiency of the black community.