EAST LIVERPOOL, Ohio (WKBN) — On the end of Fifth Street, there’s a restaurant, a coffee shop and the New Castle School of Trades campus, all of which have opened in recent years. To keep the momentum going, there are now plans to open a co-op for artists.
Sheri Liebschner and Pat Scafide are two of the people working to bring an artists co-op to the Fifth Street neighborhood of downtown East Liverpool.
“We hope this sparks some of that redevelopment that we are looking for,” Pat Scafide said.
The co-op will provide working space for up to 10 artists, who would pay $150 per month.
The idea started last summer when Scafide — as president of the East Liverpool Community Improvement Corporation — spoke with friend, East Liverpool native and former illustrator for Marvel Entertainment Bruce Miller.
Miller started an artists co-op in Greenville, South Carolina, 17 years ago.
“The West End Arts District grew out of that,” Miller said. “People started coming and buying up the old buildings and doing the same.”
“Artists have really come out of the woodwork around here,” Liebschner said.
Liebschner, an art instructor at the East Liverpool Museum of Ceramics, is helping find the right building, as well as the artists to fill it.
“We’ve really had a boom here recently, and there are a lot of artists in the area that will come here to paint and draw and create,” Liebschner said.
The building for the co-op hasn’t been selected, but it will be within East Liverpool’s Cultural District, which includes the 123-year-old Carnegie Library, the recently renovated Masonic building and the ceramics museum. The plan is to have it running this summer.
“It’s in our DNA in East Liverpool. We had craftsman back in the early days of the potteries making some of the most beautiful things you’ve ever seen, and that’s all by hand,” Scafide said.
Three artist have already committed to being part of the co-op, and two more are needed to get started. It’s hoped the co-op will be a stimulus for other artistic ventures in downtown East Liverpool like concerts and plays.