by Kerry Skiff 09.17.2015 25 days ago
at 11:20 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
a yart shopper chats with an artist

Beyond the Books

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 affordable prices. 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 me sometimes.” 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.

Full Circle Funny

Comedian Alex Stone returns to the site of his first show for a live recording

0 Comments · Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Like many future comedians, Cincinnati native Alex Stone discovered he was funny almost by accident.   

Strong's Brick Oven Pizzeria (Review)

Strong's fire-breathing oven offers Italian delights

0 Comments · Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Do not be fooled by the quaint brick building and steep steps that sit back off the street as you drive toward Newport on the Levee on Monmouth Street; Strong’s Brick Oven Pizzeria is not just another pizza joint.  

The Linguistics of Legislation

Reviewing the outdated, overly conservative and just plain funny laws still on the books

0 Comments · Wednesday, April 10, 2013
We decided to look into Ohio and Northern Kentucky laws to see if there was anything else totally absurd (possibly sexist) left in writing in the Ohio Revised Code/Cincinnati Municipal Code/other codes. And there was nothing too bizarre, but some of the laws’ requirements and wording are hilarious, incredibly obvious and/or idiotic.   

Naked Tchopstix (Review)

Asian chain offers sushi, Chinese, Korean, Japanese and Southeast Asian cuisine

3 Comments · Wednesday, April 18, 2012
“Don’t judge a book by its cover.” I’m sure we’ve all heard that phrase applied to any number of situations, but I had to say it to myself when I learned I was to review a new restaurant named Naked Tchopstix. The name is just a bit twee and made me wonder how the food would be. I needn’t have worried — the food is absolutely amazing.   

Dude, Where's My Bar?

Favorite music club not where you left it? We’re here to help.

0 Comments · Wednesday, February 29, 2012
It seems like in the past, Cincinnati had a reputation for being the kind of place you could move away from for a decade knowing that when you returned, the gas station, grocery store and drinking establishments would be there waiting for you, exactly as you left them.    

Taft Theatre Announces New 'Ballroom'

0 Comments · Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Since remodeling and reopening last year, downtown’s Taft Theatre already was programming a more adventurous concert lineup than usual. This year, the venue has already announced shows by more “mid-level” groups like Trampled By Turtles and JJ Grey & Mofro, both cult faves and Southgate alumni.  

Prince of Sin City

Gary Walton (Finishing Line Press)

0 Comments · Wednesday, September 23, 2009
'Prince of Sin City' is the long-awaited historically based novel by local literature professor, writer, musician and poet Gary Walton. Set largely in the gambling heyday of Newport, the book provides an engaging view into the area's mysterious, sometimes seedy past.   

La Mexicana (Review)

Newport classic makes up for nondescript decor with delicious authenticity

5 Comments · Wednesday, December 2, 2009
I generally judge the authenticity of a Mexican restaurant not by decor or signage but by salsa and mole sauce. So when we got the salsa — a nice mix of tomatillos and jalapenos with a lovely cilantro aftertaste — I was pretty happy. La Mexicana indeed is one of the most authentic Mexican restaurants in the area.  

Halloween Events Guide

0 Comments · Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Whether you've got kids, an itch to waltz or just need an excuse to drink in costume, we've got the event for you.