Art League renews focus on Houston House
The Marysville Art League is putting new effort into making a 140-year-old home on West Fifth Street the focus of the arts in the community.
"Art is what you feel. Art is when it comes from your heart," said Kim Heminger, Marysville Arts League president. "Anything that you're creating is a part of you and that's important."
When the past league president resigned, members of the Marysville Art League board were looking for ways to save the house and generate income.
"They were kind of distraught because the old president wanted to give the house to United Way and they didn't want that to happen," Heminger said.
Heminger began revamping the house about a month ago with paint, elbow grease, and a new approach to keeping the arts alive in Marysville.
"My new motto is history and art equal creativity, enthusiasm and entertainment," she said.
According to Heminger, the house, also known as the Houston House, was built by Christopher Houston in 1872. He came to America from Ireland in 1850 and settled in Marysville two years later when fewer than 500 people lived in the community.
A grocer and bank founder, Houston and his wife, Hannah, were both interested in the arts, Heminger said. The house passed on to their son, Frederick Houston, and then to Frederick's niece, Grace Houston Biamonte. She bought the home when Frederick died in 1949.
Heminger said Biamonte was an artist and several of her paintings hang throughout the home.
Biamonte attended Ohio State University and became a professor of art in Pennsylvania. A picture of her hangs in the foyer.
"Some of the original members of the Marysville Art League were actually friends with her and in a garden club with her," Heminger said.
In 1982, the Marysville Art League purchased the house for $54,000. Once the mortgage was paid off, the League built a back room that now serves as a work area and space for art classes.
"We would like to get life back in it and have art classes and performing arts and different things going on," Heminger said. "We want to start the art partnership up again."
The house is also available to rent for meetings, birthday parties and bridal or baby showers.
Some repairs are still needed, Heminger said. A new roof was put on in 2010 but one upstairs room still bears the damage caused by the previously leaky roof.
Heminger wants to start a "Save the Soffit" campaign, as well as add new sidewalks and a driveway.
Many artists are featured throughout the house, including Hollywood fashion designer and Ohio native, Eugene Snively.
Contemporary local artist Dante Camerlengo has six paintings in the house and is excited about the future of the structure.
. "Art needs to be brought back to Marysville," Camerlengo said. "With all the new media, it's dying out. I'm glad to see something's happening with it."
Membership fees range from $15 to $100 and allow members to rent the home or take classes.
"Were trying to get people to adopt rooms and then we will eventually name all of them after someone who has been inspirational from the past," Heminger said.
"The Marysville Art League has been here in the Houston House, it's a historical place and I really want to keep it here," she said.