While having a place to display art work or play a song is important for artists, opportunities to create and collaborate are crucial.
Daniel Cross and his wife, L’erin Cross, and Seth Moorman, believe networking is key to helping Columbus’ art scene continue to flourish. That is the idea behind Art House Columbus, the trio’s arts initiative that debuted last month.
“We want to provide another outlet for the artistic community to get together,” said Daniel Cross, a technical support manager with Cummins Inc.
Daniel Cross, 30, who graduated with a degree in automotive management, also studied vocal music. He has played bass guitar in several bands throughout the years, although he is not playing with one currently.
L’erin Cross, 32, who stays home with the couple’s 2 ½-year-old son, holds a degree in art education. While she doesn’t consider herself an artist, she likes to design clothes from patterns she creates.
Art House Columbus is an every-other-month art show that takes place in the Cross home at 1602 Washington St. Visual artists are invited to display their works on the home’s main floor, while poets and musicians perform in the living room.
The concept was inspired by Art House Nashville in Nashville, Tenn., where the couple lived briefly before moving back to Columbus in December 2011.
Moorman, 19, a college student at IUPUC and a singer-songwriter, first became acquainted with the Crosses in 2009 when Moorman did sound for Daniel’s band. More recently, Moorman said he had been looking for more avenues to hear and perform live music in the area and found the homey, all-inclusive vibe of the Art House concept appealing.
“We want to be more positive and community-oriented than just a bar,” Moorman said.
The Crosses said their roomy, circa-1907 home seemed like an ideal venue.
“We’ve got all this space,” said Daniel of the 2,500-square-foot home. “We may as well put it to good use.”
Art House Columbus’ debut event Nov. 30 featured seven contributors, including musicians, writers and visual artists, most of whom responded to call-outs for participants using social media and traditional postings. Organizers estimated that at any given time during the three-hour event, about 50 spectators roamed the house.
One of the participating artists was Mark Miller, 46, who recently moved to Columbus from Barcelona, Spain, to be closer to his family. As a working artist who had been painting and selling his work since high school, Miller said he struggled at first to find like-minded artists in the area.
He became acquainted with the Crosses through their church, Terrace Lake Community Church, and jumped at the chance to participate.
“Having that type of peer interaction is super-important,” said Miller, who called the evening phenomenal and said he hopes to participate in future Art House Columbus events.
Miller said it isn’t just peer-to-peer collaboration that matters, but also making the arts more accessible to consumers.
“Having art open to the community is crucial,” he said. “We need to expose the public to the art that is being done here.”
To that end, Moorman and the Crosses — who jokingly refer to themselves as the Art House Collective — are committed to attracting artists who offer a positive message. Children are welcome when accompanied by a parent or guardian, and coffee, hot chocolate and homemade cookies and scones are available for sale in the kitchen.
“We are dedicated to it being a family-friendly event,” L’erin Cross said.
The Crosses and Moorman said the inaugural Art House Columbus was a learning experience. For future events, they said they hope to add more artists, particularly visual and literary artists.
“If we build relationships and know more about the creators in our community, I will consider it a success,” Daniel Cross said.
WHAT: Art House Columbus
WHEN: 6 to 11 p.m. Friday, Jan. 25
WHERE: 1602 Washington St.
WHAT ELSE: To stay updated on Art House Columbus, or to participate as an artist, “Like” Art House Columbus on Facebook at www.facebook.com/arthousecolumbus, and follow them on Twitter: @arthousecbus