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February 22, 2009

Can Local Art Help Old Brooklyn Thrive?

Business owners in Old Brooklyn are doing their part to give entrepreneurs and artists a chance to shine. Just ask Connie Ewazen, a local resident and business owner who owns a building at the corner of Memphis Avenue and Pearl Road.

When I first talked to Connie about the Case Cares About Cleveland initiative, she asked if I could create a sign for her building. I asked her about the history of that particular location and she told me it was called "The Heart of Old Brooklyn" because of its prominence right in the center of town.

So I developed a little sign that she could place in her first-floor window which made her push the idea even further. Maybe she could get an artist she knew to display his work. Or perhaps she might encourage a group of artists to rent some of her available studio space and give that "Heart of Old Brooklyn" a second look.

So she mentioned the ideas to a local artist, Bill Conkey, who put together a nice display for folks walking by. That display has only been up a few weeks, and just yesterday, Connie got word that Conkey made his first sale. Sure, one little sale might not be a huge deal to some, but to the folks who believe in Old Brooklyn, it could be the start of something new, something different.

The bottom line is that a lot of people care and want to see Old Brooklyn thrive. Jeff Rhodes, for example, is a school teacher who lives in Old Brooklyn. Jeff is engaging his high school students to design signs that would give a few storefronts a fresh look. Will it work? Will it matter? No one has all the answers, but the energy is something nobody can deny.

I met an artist by the name of Amy Kreiger who has all kinds of artwork we can display. Her work has been on display at the Spaces art gallery since January 30, and she's thrilled to help Old Brooklyn any way she can. Check out her artwork on page 23 of the Spaces "Flash Forward" catalog.

"I'm glad I can be a part of revitalizing Old Brooklyn," Kreiger said. "It means the world to me that I can help through my artwork, because it's what I love. It's refreshing to see that this project is introducing art in a way to help the city because that's part of what I want to do with my work -- make the public happy, or at least to inspire them in doing something good."

Help us hang Amy's artwork in our upcoming Saturday of Service event. I just added an entry about the event below. We also need to hang the work of one of our resident watercolor artists, Carol Lade. She recently gave me several copies of her work to display.

Posted by mcd34 at February 22, 2009 10:37 PM

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