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Friday, May 25, 2018

5th Street Gallery, Featuring Local Artists, Finds a New Home

Local artists Bill Dirkes (left), Joe Drury and Jerry Warner (right) were instrumental in finding a new home for 5th Street Gallery upon the closing of Macy's downtown Cincinnati.

5th Street Gallery, a collaborative of local artists, relocated to Macy's, Fountain Place, during the 2017 holiday season. When the downtown Cincinnati Macy's location closed in March, the gallery found itself in need of a new home. Enter Millennium Cincinnati.

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Joe Drury, a Fort Thomas-based glass sculpture artist, simply began walking up and down 5th Street. In the Millennium hotel he found a bare-bones lobby and owners who were thrilled with the idea of local artists filling the hotel walls with art. The relocation has been a win-win for all involved.

Today, paintings by local artists adorn the hotel lobby walls – all available for sale. And glass classes – purchased from Macy's, Fountain Place – line a long stretch of the lobby. In it are wood turnings, art glass, handmade jewelry and more. The lobby provides easy access to locals who would like to browse, and the items featured allow travelers to take a little bit of Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky home with them.

The hotel also features a large mezzanine, ideal for future art shows featuring selected artists.

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Open from 7-11 six days a week and closed on Mondays, the co-op works the same as it always has, with most of the artists working a set number of hours each month. The set-up allows for little-to-no overhead costs, and allows the artists to interact with customers directly.

Fort Thomas artists also include wood turner Jerry Warner (featured here). Additional artists include Crystal Arnold, Charlie Berger, John Darlin, David Day, Bill Dirkes (a fellow northern Kentucky artist who spent a week with Warner setting up the glass cases and also made new signs for the relocated gallery), Bill Feinberg, Joyce Friedeman, Tim Gold, Margie Lakeberg, David O'Hara, Pat Olding, Debbie Thornberry and David Wright.

"We're meeting all kinds of wonderful people," Drury says, who recently talked to several members of Cirque de Soleil who were staying at the Millennium while performing in Cincinnati. Events throughout the year provide an ever-revolving customer base, key to the co-op's success.

The artists often find themselves serving as ambassadors for the area as well, providing directions, restaurant and sight-seeing recommendations, all the while talking about the joys of living in Cincinnati and northern Kentucky.

For more information, you can find the gallery on Facebook, here. Or simply stop by – the lobby is always open to the public, and the co-op artists will be more than happy to speak with you.

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