Miami Regionals grad working on launch of important arts project in Hamilton
Jesseca Crosen heard about an internship with the Cincinnati arts organization Wave Pool to help start a new location in Hamilton, she knew it was the perfect opportunity for her.
Internships bring opportunities, and when recent Community Arts graduate Jesseca Crosen heard about an internship with the Cincinnati arts organization Wave Pool to help start a new location in Hamilton, she knew it was the perfect opportunity for her.
Wave Pool is a non-profit organization based in the Camp Washington neighborhood of Cincinnati that serves the local community using art as a way to connect people. Through its studios in Camp Washington, Wave Pool offers a social practice residency program. In addition, the organization offers classes, workspace for artists, special events, and sponsors a community garden.
Many Wave Pool artists are immigrants, and the group sees art as a way to bridge cultures and grow relationships. It also provides immigrant artists the chance to make a living through their art.
When two Hamilton residents came up with an idea to purchase a historic firehouse in Hamilton and turn it into studio and community space, they contacted Wave Pool Executive Director Cal Cullen to see if the group would be interested in a second location.
Coincidentally, Heather Bernal, owner of Primo Property Services, and one of the Hamilton residents who purchased the firehouse, knew Cullen at Miami University, where both attended more than 15 years ago. When Bernal contacted Cullen about the project, it was a reunion as well as a potential business proposition. Cullen said she thought the partnership was an excellent fit and Tide Pool — as the Hamilton project is called — was born.
"We get requests from other cities pretty regularly because they are interested in our model," Cullen said. "But our success (in Camp Washington) is largely because we live in the neighborhood, too. We wanted to duplicate that dynamic elsewhere. Hamilton feels like the same grassroots level of involvement, so it was a natural fit."
Cullen reached out to Professor of Art Roscoe Wilson at Miami University Regionals for help getting the project launched, and that’s how Crosen got involved as an intern. She is surveying Hamilton area artists and community members to determine how Tide Pool can serve their needs for art, community engagement, and business all at the same time, a unique mission developed at Wave Pool. Her goal is to generate community buzz and activity around Tide Pool before the physical space is even open.
The firehouse in Hamilton's East End neighborhood is still under renovation and won’t be fully ready for use until the fall of 2023. But Crosen has been able to build partnerships in the community through networking and has already generated some important projects. She is planning a summer cookout event in Hamilton that will include sidewalk chalk art, for example.
Crosensaid she has been inspired by the Wave Pool mission of meeting community needs through artistic opportunity.
"It has been one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had," Crosen said. "It’s really great to see how Wave Pool is able to bring the community together around art. I’m using the ideas in my full time job, too."
Crosen has accepted a position as an education coordinator for the Middletown Arts Center. She hopes to continue to work with Tide Pool, however, possibly in a part-time role that extends beyond her spring/summer internship. "There are so many possibilities for this space. I’d be very excited to be a part of it."
Cullen said Crosen’s involvement has been instrumental in moving Tide Pool from an idea to a recognizable brand in the community.
"As things have progressed, Jess has really taken the lead," Cullen said. "She is passionate about the mission. She’s enthusiastic, self-motivated, and a go-getter who’s really helped get this off the ground."