Let’s end the week by stretching to the north. I found an interesting new business in Emory Place last week. Emory Place is a unique little collection of buildings, large and small located at a confluence of streets intersecting at odd angles. It doesn’t quite form a square, but it seems to have the potential to have a similar feel to Market Square. Some of the buildings are occupied and others seem to be waiting.
This is another stretch for consideration as a downtown location, though I’ve walked there several times. As Greg pointed out in his comment on yesterday’s blog, a quarter mile is about as far as most people consider walkable. Emory Place is .4 of a mile from the 100 block. It can be reached via Central Street, Gay Street or Broadway. From Broadway, it is located just past and behind the St. John’s Lutheran Church which sits across from the Old Gray Cemetery.
As is often the case, it’s the face behind the business that makes it special. I met Brooke Milanovich at the First Friday open house for her Creativity Central and found her to be bright, energetic and engaging. Originally from Chattanooga, Knoxville has been home for many years and now she and her husband make Old North their home. She’s crazy about the short commute to work. I could almost imagine that she could help me become an artist. Almost.
Brooke laughs easily, smiles beautifully and talks somewhat regretfully about changes in the education field in which she worked for a decade. As the arts are jettisoned in favor of core subjects which can be more easily tested and quantified, she joins what is likely to be a growing number of unemployed or disillusioned artists. Always a struggle to maintain in a public school, some are almost viewing anything outside the core curriculum, including the arts, with suspicion and disdain.
Rather than become embittered, she took her skills, her positive attitude and love of teaching art to children and funneled it all into Creativity Central at 13 Emory Place. Out looking for a spot for this creative venture, she and her husband stumbled upon Emory Place, saw the perfect place for lease and went for it. The small space with large windows providing great light through the day is set to become the go-to space for downtown and Old North children to find their inner artist. The range of artistic pursuits your child might enjoy is quite large. Classes are offered in painting, drawing, origami, clay and ecoart (creating art from found objects).
Additionally, Saturdays are reserved for introduction classes for each of the above to allow your child to explore their best fit for more intensive training. Birthday parties are welcome as well as post-slumber party art parties. That’s a lot of partying. Signups have also started for summer camps coming in June and July for young students ranging from age 5 to age 16 (in different classes). Private lessons are also available. You will likely have a chance to meet her and see the art her students produce on First Fridays when she plans to open up an onsite gallery of the art produced there.
I’m not aware of anything quite like it in our area and I would love to see it succeed. If you stop by and introduce yourself to Brooke, I think you’ll find a person who you would like to have work with your child. Like all other businesses, she has to have business to stay in business, so I hope she gets our support.
It’s a cool spot I’d like to see more connected to downtown. There are empty spots in between that could use some love and some spots in Emory Place that may just hold the potential for a vibrant little enclave positioned nicely between Old North and Downtown. Take a walk and check it out. It’s only .4 mile from the 100 block and really, that’s not that far, is it?