New mural among renovations at Kettering’s Rosewood Arts Center

Credit: Natalie Jones

Credit: Natalie Jones

“We look at our programs as a way to enrich the quality of life for people,” said Kettering cultural arts manager Shayna McConville.

Rosewood Arts Center in Kettering is in the midst of a makeover to not only upgrade to the 21st century but provide a more inclusive space.

“We were working within a space we were given, so now we have been able to customize the space to what we need in it,” said Shayna McConville, division manager of cultural arts for the City of Kettering Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts Department.

Credit: Natalie Jones

Credit: Natalie Jones

Rosewood Arts Center is housed in a former school building built in the 1960s. Not much had changed prior to the renovations beginning last September.

“We really were just existing within a school building,” McConville said.

Earlier this month, the first of three phases was completed at the arts center. In addition to a new main entrance, parking lot and lobby space, there is an upgraded bathroom, youth arts studio and kiln room. Upgrades also extend to electrical and plumbing concerns.

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“Our main entrance previously was the original 1965 main entrance for this elementary school,” McConville said. “It was not ADA compliant, obviously, because it was built in 1964. We really pushed hard with this project to make (any) modifications very inclusive.”

When guests walk into the new main entrance, they will be greeted by staff in the lobby and have easy access to a free gallery that changes every five weeks.

Phase 1 of renovations also included a new community mural on the exterior of the building.

Credit: Natalie Jones

Credit: Natalie Jones

The mural, designed by Atalie Gagnet, captures what people in the Kettering community love about their neighborhood. McConville explained the arts center in partnership with the Dayton Printmakers Cooperative held several workshops where about 150 participants shared what they loved through visual language. Gagnet took those pieces and was inspired to design a piece reflecting what the community loves as well as the building’s 1960s history.

Three Fairmont High School students were chosen to assist in painting the mural. The apprentices were Fairmont High School 2022 graduates Yara Chaouali and Haley Franklin and current senior Lily Rueckhaus. Chaouali titled the work “Blooming Through the Waves.”

“I came up with ‘Blooming Through the Waves’ because I feel like it encompasses both parts of the wave and the flowers,” said Chaoulai in a statement provided by the City of Kettering Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts Department. ”It shows the flowers blooming through the colorful waves. I kind of like to think of it like the flowers bloomed in the waves despite the adversity it faced. Kind of like a community together.”

Credit: Natalie Jones

Credit: Natalie Jones

The second phase of the renovation, which is already in progress, includes renovations to the 3D wing where guests work with ceramics, metals and glass. McConville said she hopes Phase 2 will be completed in Jan. 2023.

The third phase will include renovations to the 2D wing where guests paint and draw. Phase 3 also includes a new printmaking studio and theater renovations, McConville explained.

“We want to see a lot of interaction,” McConville said. “People inspiring each other like if they are doing ceramics in one room and painting in another, where does that cross-pollination happen?”

She also noted Rosewood is working with about 39,000 square feet of space, so there is a lot of potential to accommodate and grow its programs and audiences.

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“We have such a wide breath of experiences that we offer,” McConville said. “We’re not just visual arts. We’re also performing arts and we’re humanities. We look at our programs as a way to enrich the quality of life for people.”

The arts center has a variety of programing including dance, theatre, ceramics, painting, drawing, jewelry making, sewing and language classes. McConville said in a typical year they have around 450 programs and classes for all ages.

Credit: Natalie Jones

Credit: Natalie Jones

As the renovation project continues, so does programming and classes. McConville said they are hoping renovations will be completed by the end of summer 2023.

“Overall, we are most looking forward to having spaces that work for the function we need it to work for,” McConville said. “We really want to make sure we are an inclusive space.”

The arts center is transitioning to fall hours starting Tuesday, Sept. 6. The new hours will be 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.

“You don’t have to be an artist at all to walk in the doors here and have an experience,” McConville said. “We just really want to be the space the community knows they can come to.”

For more information about Rosewood Arts Center, located at 2655 Olson Drive, visit www.playkettering.org/rosewood-arts-center-home/.

Credit: Natalie Jones

Credit: Natalie Jones

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