Zanesville Art Center Houses Not Only Art, But Artists< < Back to
ZANESVILLE, Ohio (WOUB) — The former Pioneer Elementary School overlooks the city of Zanesville, though it now has a different kind of student.
The Pioneer School Community Arts Center houses an array of artists perpetually honing their crafts, from ceramics to painting to music and more.
“The premises, the building, lends itself to the creativity,” said Wayne Savage, the center’s caretaker and curator of its featured exhibitions. “We have wheels and we have kilns and we have easels, and we have most anything you need to create art. And we have a million dollar view just to relax by or be inspired by.”
Artists can rent a range of spaces for both living and working, from basement art studios to studio apartments. The front of the building faces the cityscape of Zanesville, while the back side faces a serene view of nature. In the basement is a vintage space resembling the former elementary school for lounging and studio space. On the first floor is a bright, sunshine-filled gallery space, while the second floor features the living and work spaces for the artists in residence.
Savage himself lives in an apartment on the first floor, just off of the gallery, with his daughter, Jennifier Hendricks. The work-life balance can be challenging while setting up intricate exhibitions like the one currently on display, Savage said, having work, quite literally, outside of his front door.
For some, like Brian Smith, a musician and artist who lives in the building, having work and his apartment just down the hall from each other serves as an added convenience. Smith often dreamed of living and recording music in the old school after it was turned into an art center.
“I love this building and I love where it’s positioned,” he said. “The view is so amazing. It’s worth part of your rent.”
Other artists in the building include Christopher Cassidy, who lives with his 5-year-old son Etzel. The two have a piece depicting an owl made from dried paint in the gallery together, representing the time they have spent together as father and son.
For Cassidy, living at the center isn’t just about his own development as an artist.
“That impact it’s going to have on a young child to be able to be imaginative and have the ability as a young person to work out that imagination and meet different people and perspectives here at the center, it’s so beautiful,” Cassidy said. “It’s a very wonderful privilege.”
Another artist, Savannah Ramos, also lives in the building. Her mother, Mary Ramos, runs a dog grooming business, TooTie’s, on the first floor, and her father, Raymond, has a studio in the basement for his clay work.
“So it’s kind of cool to hear stories, especially because there’s a lot of people that used to go here in Zanesville, so when they come in here, they’re always telling their kids, ‘This was my classroom’ and stuff like that,” Ramos said. “There’s not very many places in Zanesville that you can just come and rent a studio to do art.”
On the first floor is a gallery featuring some of the work by the in-house artists and many others. The current exhibition is called “Strong and Unusual” and features pieces ranging from folk art to sculpture to paintings and more.
“We have over 50 area artists that are participating in it,” Savage said. “It’s really cool. We have some absolutely huge names and we have some up-and-coming beginners that want to be recognized and known.”
The exhibition will be open until July 23 on Fridays from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m., or anytime by appointment.
Looking toward the future, Savage said he hopes to create more art classes for people in Zanesville and beyond to come and create. Artists, he said, are a community apart from the general public who can benefit from having their own space.
“We’re a select group that loves to be creative and think outside the box and to do fun things and get together and put on great shows,” Savage said. “It’s an honor to be part of that.”