by Kerry Skiff
at 11:20 AM | Permalink
YART: The Art Yardsale at the Campbell County Public Library's Newport Branch
As technology advances, we constantly revisit our old
resources to determine their relevance. Perhaps one of the most common debates
is if libraries are a thing of the past. Sure, the quiet atmosphere with
thousands of books is soothing, but is it really necessary when most, if not
all, of its services can be found in a Google search?
I, and many others like me, say yes. To be clear, I’m a
young twentysomething who’s as tied to her smartphone as anyone else, but I
believe libraries are an essential and irreplaceable community establishment. Books
aside, libraries offer so many services that it would take 10 community
organizations to equal.
“The library is here for [the community] and literally does
a little bit of everything,” says Jill Liebisch, adult/teen services programmer
for the Newport branch of the Campbell County Public Library. “We do everything
from job fairs to learning how to knit and crochet to the YART [Art Yardsale] to
one-on-one computer and technology training.”
To explore just how relevant public libraries really are in
this digital age, I’m exploring one service or program each week and evaluating
its impact on me as a resident and on the community at large.
My first event was YART: The Art Yardsale, hosted by the
Newport library. YART showcased artists from around the Cincinnati community in
a creative yard sale, where jewelry makers, sketch artists, painters,
photographers, glass blowers, sculptors and scrapbookers sold their goods at
Liebisch has organized the event for the last two years. “We
kind of came up with the idea that we wanted it to be students and people who
had never had a chance to sell their artwork before,” she says. “We had so many
students and first-timers come and display and sell their artwork…they got to
make contacts and kind of have a little art show of their own.”
During my time there, YART kept up a steady stream of
traffic, despite the constant dark clouds hinting at rain. I joined the handful
weaving through the aisles of jewelry, paintings, photography, sketches and
paper arts, taking time to chat with the artists.
Nancy Howes told me about her fantasy-inspired jewelry made
from copper, poly clay and paper. She’s been making jewelry off and on for the
last 20 years and used to have a shop in Bellevue. “I do these craft fairs
every once in a while,” she says. “It’s fun to get out and hear the people and
visit with them.”
Howes’ son, Chris, sat next to her, behind a table of
ceramic faces. A professional sculptor, Howes designs The Grotesquerie, his
collection of hand-sculpted faces and figures. “I make grotesques, in the
classic sense of caricatures and grotesque faces,” he says, looking over his
table of odd expressions.
The wind spread around the constant aroma of his incense
burners, shaped like fish and funny gnomes. “They just sort of happened,
whatever comes out comes out,” he says, joking about the figures. “It surprises
After several passes among the tables, I ended up with a
personalized picture album, small watercolor painting, a pair of earrings and
an assortment of paper tags, not to mention the fun of chatting with local
creatives. Melissa Huber, who sold me the earrings, remarked on how useful
she’s found the public library. Huber said she and her mother attend the Friday
night movies, and Huber herself has learned to knit and intends to learn fly
fishing, all through their local branch.
After a few hours at the YART sale, I walked away with great
gifts for family at prices a broke twentysomething can afford. It was probably
one of the most satisfying shopping trips I’ve ever made, and I can’t think of
a better way to invest in a community.
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