SEO Musical Lending Library to Open Oct. 14 at Arts West

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The Southeast Ohio Musical Lending Library Opening will take place Sunday, October 14, 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Arts West. The SEO Musical Lending Library is a project of Arts West in partnership with Blue Eagle Music, and Stuart’s Opera House.

Our sponsors include the Johnny B and John Spataro Music Foundation, Stewart MacDonald, Casa Nueva, and numerous Athens community members.

The Musical Lending Library seeks to make instruments accessible, playable and fun for people from all backgrounds at every stage of life. Offering classic rock band, brass and woodwinds, and traditional Appalachian String band instruments the library gives people the opportunity to try something new without the commitment of making a purchase.  Though our partnerships with Blue Eagle Music and StewMac we purchase and maintain high quality instruments suitable for people of all sizes and experience levels. Though our partnership with Stuart’s Opera House we offer instruments at two locations. In addition, we continue to seek partnerships with other arts venues around southeast Ohio.

The library also includes a traveling, kid friendly component we call our Instrument Petting Zoo. We take a selection of instruments, musicians, and musical crafts to area libraries, festivals, and schools to give people (particularly children) the opportunity to try our instruments, hear new songs and learn about styles of music they may not otherwise have the opportunity to experience.  This year we have been present at the Nelsonville Music Festival and Appalachian Music Week, and most recently the Nelsonville Library on Oct. 3. We hope to expand to the other Athens county libraries throughout the school year. The Musical Lending Library is open one extra day per week just for PRISM, a youth art program operating out of Arts West on Mondays.

The library will feature monthly Saturday workshops happening alternately at Stuart’s Opera House and Arts West ranging from amplifier repair, keys for beginners, and how to play in an old time string jam. The workshops will feature local musicians and luthiers and will be advertised through the Arts West blogspot and newsletter as well as through local newspapers and social media.

As of October 16, the library hours are Tuesday and Thursday from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Arts West. Our music room is in our newly remodeled basement and features a small room for the instruments to be displayed, repaired, and checked in and out.  In addition, we have a practice and music lesson room complete with a portable PA system, drum set, and piano. The practice room will be open during the lending library hours for those wishing to experiment without bringing the instrument home.  The practice room is also available outside of library hours for music lessons and band practice for a small hourly rental rate. The library staff features the Arts West Work Study students as well as Events Coordinator and local musician, Tessa Evanosky, all of whom are trained to give a “mini lesson” prior to lending out instruments. Each loan will include the instrument of choice, instruction book, tuner (when applicable) and a carrying case.

Memberships to the library and Arts West start at just $50 per year and are available for walk in purchases or though our blogspot.