Friday, August 27, 2004

Young artists finding niche in Covington

By Natalie Morales
Enquirer staff writer

Katie Grone, 24, of Fort Mitchell. works on an untitled oil painting at Power House Factories.
(Patrick Reddy/The Enquirer)
COVINGTON - Young, local artists, an old building and the efforts to build up an arts district have combined to form a powerhouse of creativity in the city.

After a couple of years of planning, Powerhouse Factories, a small group of young artists who are merging commercial graphic arts with fine art, is opening its Jim Amann Gallery Sept. 3 at 30 W. Pike St.

"We wanted to create an area where we could incorporate both design and fine arts," said Mike Amann, an artist and owner of the Powerhouse Factories building. "We had both together in school and we wanted to put both together in the corporate world, too."

The Powerhouse artists met while attending Western Kentucky University. After Amann, 24, graduated in 2002, he moved to Covington to buy the building from his parents.

"I remember when we were sophomores in college, and we jokingly said we should make a design and fine-arts house," he said.

Amann called on his grandfather, Jim Amann, to help rehabilitate the old building. The duo tore down walls, installed new ventilation and lighting systems, and turned the building into a gallery, studio and living environment.

The gallery was named after Amann's grandfather, who died in a car accident in June.

After the other Powerhouse members graduated in 2003, they too returned to Northern Kentucky and joined the studio the Amanns had refurbished.

"It's been a great pleasure for me to be around all the people who inspired me all through college," said Katie Grone, 24, a featured artist at the gallery opening. "This is something we always wanted to do, and it really is a dream come true for me; I'm so fortunate to be involved in something like this."

Mayor Butch Callery said that Powerhouse is a welcome addition to Pike Street and the effort to promote a city art district.

The city's downtown once was thriving, Callery said, and he hopes the gallery will help to make it vibrant and alive again.

The gallery's free grand opening, titled Workers Union, will include the work of six artists. Amann said Powerhouse made about 400 announcements for the show.


If you go:

What: "Workers Union," opening show of Powerhouse Factories

Where: Jim Amann Gallery, 30 W. Pike St., Covington

When: 8-11 p.m. Sept. 3

Cost: Free

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