December 2, 2013 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE For Further Information Contact: Antonio Barrios: (440) 288-2787 Holly Brinda: (440) 326-1402
NEW PARTNERSHIP CREATES LORAIN ARTS COUNCIL’S:
ELYRIA ART DEPOT
A new partnership between the City of Elyria & the Lorain Arts Council has created the Lorain Arts Council’s Elyria Art Depot – the first arts initiative of several that the City hopes will help breathe new life into its downtown and set the stage for revitalization and growth. Just in time for the City’s Holiday Festival of Lights, the former Brandau Jewelers Building at 336 Broad Street will have its grand opening Saturday December 7 from 10am to 6pm both as an art gallery and a working space for artists. Visitors can browse through the gallery and admire local art and jewelry, shop for the holidays, and eventually take classes out of the facility. Initial days and hours of operation are Thursdays from 11am to 2pm, Fridays from 4pm to 7pm, and Saturdays from 4pm to 7pm. The schedule may be expanded based on demand. So far, ten artists have committed to participate. Among the art disciplines to be represented include painting, drawing, print making, photography, digital art and 3dimensional modeling, wearable fabric art, beading, metal sculpting, pottery, weaving, metal jewelry making, guitar, and street performances. The Elyria Art Depot will be run by the Lorain Arts Council. The Lorain Arts Council is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the recognition and awareness of the arts in Northeast Ohio. It is supported by members who value the visual, literary and performing arts. Through active participation and involvement in local initiatives and events the Council and its members create occasions for the arts to be enjoyed, displayed and performed. The Lorain Arts Council has been the spearhead of the new Waterfront Art District in the City of Lorain which is starting to change the landscape on downtown Broadway. Now operating for over 3 years, the Lorain Arts Council’s Gallery 737 was the only art
gallery on the Waterfront but with its many activities and visitors, it has slowly attracted another two locations that are functioning as art galleries. With this initiative, the Lorain Arts Council is fulfilling its mission to: Provide, Promote and Enhance the Arts in Lorain County. This opening will culminate 18 months of talks and meetings with Mayor Brinda, local Elyria groups such as Main Street Elyria, Invest Elyria, the Elyria Arts Alliance and local artists. It is with great pleasure that the Lorain Arts Council is becoming an active partner in the new Elyria Art District by opening its first satellite gallery The Elyria Art Depot in the City of Elyria. The commercial property owner, Janice and Tom Haywood, have generously offered their property for six months with a renewable lease to serve as the initial home of The Lorain Arts Council’s Elyria Art Depot. “By offering the building for the cost of utilities and insurance we hope to help jumpstart Elyria’s new Arts District and provide added exposure for the marketing of our building and other buildings downtown,” explained Janice Haywood. If The Elyria Art Depot grows in success, Haywood said it could become permanently housed in the building. Several additional downtown property owners have expressed interest in similar arrangements and the City’s new Economic Development Specialist James Graham is working to find entrepreneurs and projects to match the available buildings to expand this arts-related pop-up business strategy. “We are searching for complementary businesses to the arts to create a whole shopping experience in downtown Elyria,” Graham said. And while the pop-up businesses may be temporary, the City hopes that at least some of the businesses will continue after the initial six-month start-up phase. The Mayor of Elyria is donating a portion of her salary to split the cost of the utilities with the Lorain Arts Council and other pop-up initiatives and businesses for the first six months to help the projects take hold. Local artists will also help sustain The Elyria Art Depot with a $25 membership fee to the Lorain Arts Council and by sharing 30 percent of their profits with the Lorain Arts Council to help keep the project going after the initial six month period. “There is growing evidence demonstrating a direct positive correlation between the arts industry and city and business revenues and we want to capitalize on that,” said Elyria Mayor Holly Brinda. “Communities across Ohio in Cleveland, Columbus, Akron, Toledo and Cincinnati and across the country that leverage their artistic and cultural assets are creating direct and indirect jobs, helping generate significant government and business revenues, filling vacant commercial space in core downtowns with arts-based businesses, and attracting tourists, visitors, and young, educated professionals that are essential to local and global employers,” Brinda added.
Brinda said attracting a creative economy to Elyria is one part of a larger strategy to begin to revitalize downtown. Not only does the City and its partners want to create a shopping experience with complementary antique and home décor shops, craft and music making, creative writing, drawing, dancing, theater and more – but they also want to anchor the downtown with a strong mix-use strategy that incorporates residential living, dining, food and retail shopping, entertainment, small business start-up incubator and office space. Brinda said she and others in the City are working with members of the Urban Land Institute to expose Elyria’s many assets to outside developers and bring in new and established ideas and practices that have worked in other similar settings. The City is currently examining the possibility of transforming one of its larger vacant and foreclosed properties into a LIVE/WORK Art Center much like what has been done in communities in St. Paul, Pittsburg, Portland, Galveston, Reno – and most recently the Armory Arts Project in Jackson, Michigan. These projects have been coordinated by Artspace Projects, a nationally acclaimed nonprofit arts developer that creates and manages spaces where artists can live, work, exhibit, perform and conduct business. “There is absolutely no reason why the City of Elyria can’t be a cultural and arts mecca for the region,” Brinda said. “The success of these projects is built on public/private/nonprofit partnerships that know how to leverage community assets, the creativity of artists and the innovation of business people and government to craft longterm financing solutions.“ Adaptive re-use of industrial, commercial and institutional structures for the purposes of creating arts and entertainment districts has proved very effective in rejuvenating downtown economies while creating a unique sense of place. “When there are artists, musicians and other creative types living and working downtown it creates a demand for food, products, services, transportation, housing and lodging, according to Brinda. She cited the work of the Arts Zone in Toledo, and the Gordon Square Arts District in Cleveland as nearby examples. The Arts Zone alone employs more than 40 artists and since its inception in 2006 the Gordon Square Arts district has created 520 jobs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics 231,000 Ohioans are employed by the arts and they contribute $25 billion to the state’s economy, a study by the Center for Regional Development at Bowling Green State University concludes. Artists who are interested in participating in Lorain Arts Council’s Elyria Art Depot project can contact Antonio Barrios, President of the Lorain Arts Council at (440) 288-2787.