ELYRIA — Brandon Rutherford wants you to come to Elyria.
And this weekend, to check out the region’s artists. Rutherford, the founder and lead organizer of Invest Elyria, a grassroots community group, is hosting an art show 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday on the square in Ely Park.
“We’re looking for people to show all forms of art — a whole plethora of things,” said Rutherford. “And I’m leaving that open to interpretation by others, because I don’t want to be the guy who says, ‘This is what art is.’”
In that vein, Rutherford invites people of all ages and levels of expertise to participate, and hopes to draw people from around the county. The show is free for art-gazers, but will cost a $10 for those art-displayers (to cover fees for the event, he said — and it’ll be waived for anyone under 18).
The event is sponsored by Invest Elyria, which has gained momentum over the past year. The organization’s purpose has been to unite Elyrians to take pride in where they live and to “improve the morale and the communication between residents and city leaders,” according to the founding plan for the organization.
Rutherford, a former City Council candidate, explained that the group focused on three themes when defining its goals — Green Elyria, Buy Elyria and Connect Elyria — but admits that, like the art show, not everything falls so neatly into one category.
“I want to bring events to Elyria to get people downtown and to support small, local businesses,” said Rutherford. “And I want Invest Elyria to be a tool for the community… it’s all about positive movements in the city.”
He hopes this art show will bring people downtown for the weekend to get out and meet one another and participate in something local.
Ed Stewart, a graphic artist in Elyria and the designer of the Invest Elyria logo, thinks that the art show fits well with the organization’s goals.
“It goes along with ‘buy’ and ‘connect,’ I think,” Stewart said. “It’s local people experiencing art with other local people.”
He and his friends Ray Koepff, an acrylic painter, and Jean Jensen, an art instructor at Clearview High School, will be showing their work.
“I’ll be down there actually working with pastels,” Stewart said. “And if any kids come around, I’ll involve them in the process: I believe in participatory artwork.”
The idea for the art show came from a member of the Invest Elyria Facebook group, when the organization was in its nascent stages. Rutherford looks to community members and those who are interested in moving Elyria in a “positive direction” to engage in the conversation and to help organize events. He has already seen success in pushing for composting in downtown businesses and restaurants and creating a network of small business owners from across the city to support one another.
Rutherford is also working within the Elyria school district to start a “Young Elyrian” group to take on tasks they feel passionate about.
“I want people to be inspired, and I want them to feel like they matter in Elyria. I’m not trying to reinvent the wheel, just pushing it to get it rolling again,” Rutherford said.
If you’re interested in more information about the art show, including registration, contact Brandon Rutherford at (440) 897-9429.
Contact Emily Kennedy at 329-7243 or firstname.lastname@example.org.