Village artists all in one place
- Published: April 9, 2015
People often call the Yellow Springs Arts Council looking for artists who do specific kinds of work: an instructor who teaches African dance, for instance, or a sculptor who does commissioned work, or a property owner who will lease studio space to a musician. But since the Arts Council published its first local artist directory this spring, organizers are hoping that villagers can use the information provided about the 270-some artists in and around Yellow Springs to find for themselves what they’re looking for in collaborating, trading, learning and sharing about the creative people that mill about the village.
The directory makes the most of its 57 pages by including not just names and contact information for the artists but also descriptions about their work and the relationships they are most interested in developing.
Designers Debbie Henderson and Jon Barlow Hudson, for instance, do interior design work in theatrical, home and business settings through their business, Henderson Hudson Dezine. They take commissions and will sell to businesses, help curate work with others and have the ability to offer payment plans.
Printmaker Sherraid Scott does mixed media, painting, etching, stone lithography, silk screen and woodblock printing. She also belongs to the Dayton Printmakers Cooperative and the Dayton Visual Arts Center.
Musician Deborah Clark Colón has a band, Changeling Celtic Music, with fiddle, voice and guitar, that will play for concerts, dances and social gatherings, as well as craft original music. Colon also teaches Irish style fiddle lessons and workshops to adults and children.
So many people in the village are engaged in different kinds of creative work, according to Yellow Springs Arts Council office manager Holly Underwood, and yet before the directory there was no way of finding out who they all were.
“We have a wealth of artists in town but we can’t necessarily find them all because a lot of them work alone at home or in their studios,” she said. “We hope this helps connect artists to other artists, and we also hope it helps people find out who’s here if they need a band for a wedding, for instance.”
According to Underwood, Yellow Springs had an artist directory in the mid 1990s, but it is now completely outdated and no longer in circulation. So at the urging of YSAC gallery coordinator Nancy Mellon, in 2014 the Arts Council got busy creating a new one from scratch. With the help of Antioch College Miller Fellows Alex Scott and Katie Olsen, the group sent out a questionaire to collect information about every artist who either lives in the village or had connections here. Scott entered the data, Nick Gaskins of Bing Design laid it out, and Jane Baker proofed and managed the printing. And with the support of the board, who received an anonymous donation to fund the project, and the 155 YSAC members, the resource was completed last month.
Installation, sculpture and media artist Michael Casselli was not surprised to see the number of artists in the book, but is gratified that there is now a way to show just how many people are doing creative work in Yellow Springs.
“You get more of a sense of who’s doing what, where,” Casselli said in an interview this week. “We don’t necessarily see each others’ work, and to me that’s the biggest value [of the directory], being able to see what kind of representation of work there is in the village.”
For graphic artist DJ Galvin, who co-owns Urban Handmade, the directory will help her answer questions her customers ask about the 50 regional artists (15 in Yellow Springs) who make the work in her store and how to contact them. Galvin expects the directory will also serve to generate ideas for artist collaboration.
“Community-wise, it’s a great network tool to have one place to go to find all the different art that’s available,” she said. “Anything like this is inspiring and gets artists thinking in new ways.”
The definition of art is expansive in the local directory and includes not just traditioal visual and performance art, but also landscaping and wellness arts. The categories are body art, ceramics, dance, design, fiber art, film/video, illustration, installation, jewelry, landscaping, mixed media, music, paint, printmaking, photography, public art, sculpture, theater, wellness arts and writing.
Copies of the artist directory are available for $2 at the YSAC Gallery at 111 Corry St. Gallery hours are Wednesday–Sunday, 1–4 p.m. The online version can be accessed at ysartscouncil.org.