Thursday, September 11, 2003

'New' Harrison celebrates arts

By Reid Forgrave
The Cincinnati Enquirer

"Ninth Annual Celebration of the Arts Festival"

When: Saturday, 1-7 p.m.

Where: downtown Harrison

Cost: Free

"Light through the Shadows: Residue of Memory," a photography exhibit by Harrison native Meg Roudebush

When: Friday, 7-11 p.m.

Where: You Have Been Framed art gallery, 219 Harrison Ave. in downtown Harrison

Cost: Free.

HARRISON - This small river city on the Indiana border sees this weekend's arts festival in the refurbished downtown area as a chance to show off a new-look Harrison to the rest of the Tristate.

"Harrison needs some self-esteem, to put it bluntly, and things are changing here," said Linda Wissel, an art gallery owner in Harrison's quaint Main Street area.

"The fact is, a lot more affluent people are moving out here. More and more people are getting sophisticated taste in arts down here, too."

With Friday's black-and-white photography exhibit of mostly environmental portraits of Harrison, followed by an arts festival 1-7 p.m. Saturday featuring nearly four dozen artists from around the country, residents in this city of 7,500 want the region to take note of its new identity.

Friday's photo exhibit, 7-11 p.m. at You Have Been Framed art gallery, 219 Harrison Ave., will feature gritty photographs of downtown Harrison and natural areas near the city shot by a woman who grew up in Harrison.

The photographer, Meg Roudebush, now of Covington, said the photographs reflect memories of her childhood in Harrison: some flattering, some not.

"Harrison can be a closed-minded place, but things are changing here," Roudebush said.

"It's a great place to grow up, but it's not a place I could ever be free."

She wondered if photographs of drag queens she shot in Atlanta might offend some.

The festival on Saturday will feature 43 artists with a wide variety of arts - watercolors, pottery, oil paintings, jewelry, stained glass and clothing.

Main Street Harrison is also sponsoring a concert by the oldies band Hot Wax at 7 p.m.

"This is exactly what Harrison needs," Wissel said.


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