works of passion, 20 E. State St., worked hard to have an eventful and meaningful summer. Together with many local businesses and organizations, Passion Works extends its love for art to Athens and its people.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the artists at Passion Works couldn’t be together as much as usual; however, the pandemic did not prevent them from continuing to work from home safely. Most of the pandemic involved bringing art supplies to artists’ homes, where they could continue working on their Passion flowers and other projects.
Lynn Harter, Past President of Passion Works and Co-Director of Barbara Geralds Institute for Storytelling and Social Impact, said, throughout the pandemic and now, Passion Works has the capacity to respond to the unique gifts and abilities of individuals and the circumstances in which they find themselves.
“COVID itself has demanded change, as we’ve all been through (the pandemic),” Harter said. “As the studio begins to reopen, we are starting to envision what is possible as we approach back to school at Ohio University. “
Passion Works is constantly looking for ways to get involved with Athens and its people. To do this, the Storytelling Institute and Passion Works received a grant from the Maple grove foundation.
“This is a multi-year project that will focus on expanding and expanding the creation, production and distribution of recycled and environmentally friendly art projects,” said Harter. “And by doing this, encourage human creativity, connection, belonging and economic employment.”
As part of the grant, Passion Works is launching a Mobile Art Project, or MAP. The project consists of having a van allowing the studio to travel to where people are. A MAP project is underway with Larry’s Dog House, where Passion Works will be creating a mural by Larry’s drive-thru.
The mural will be painted by students at Ohio University as part of Passion Works’ partnership with Turn It Gold, a nonprofit in the fight against childhood cancer. This is just one of Passion Works’ upcoming projects.
Nancy Epling, studio director for Passion Works, said Passion Works has had a busy year, despite the pandemic. This is thanks to the constant support from buyers and the ability to find new projects to work on in Athens and the surrounding areas that have kept them busy.
Passion Works has slowly started reopening after the COVID-19 pandemic, and Passion Works continues to slowly schedule artists to return to the studio. When reopening, Ornery Veterinarian Café, also a partner of Passion Works, organized a catering venue for the artists thanks to donations from the inhabitants of Athens.
Patty Mitchell, Executive Director and Founder of Passion Works, said Passion Works is looking forward to reopening the studio for people to enjoy.
“We’re going strong,” Mitchell said. “The workshop is wonderful. We are ready to come back, invite people and continue to collaborate more with our community. “
This summer, Passion Works and its artists worked with the Athens County Public Library, painting recycled tires and creating interactive play equipment. This project was also in partnership with Turn It Gold.
The artists also recycled clothes at local thrift stores, found materials for their passion flowers, and worked on textiles, patches and more for an art festival in September.
Passion Works recently completed a painting for the Athens’ Conservancy at Strouds Run State Park. The art will showcase the fauna, flora and fauna of Southeast Ohio. The art of Passion Works will be on display throughout the trail, allowing people to experience their works in nature.
Soon, Passion Works will organize its sale of puppets. While waiting for the sequel, Passion Works will be working on a project with Bagel Street Deli and the unveiling of its new dining room.
Passion Works has worked on many Athens community focused projects and continues to work with a multitude of locations including Athens Community Center, Athens Local Pool, Rural Action and Athens MakerSpace.
“We try to go out because our end goal in all of this, obviously, is to have fun and be creative with each other, but to create a space where everyone feels welcome and valued,” said declared Epling. “Hope everyone likes it so much that we can implement a studio like this and every community. That’s the end goal – that we have a Passion Works type space in every city.
As the fall semester approaches, Passion Works and its artists eagerly await the return of students to campus.
On Wednesday evenings, an “Art Night” is scheduled from 5 pm to 7 pm. Anyone interested will be able to come together and create art. Hoping to be in the studio, Mitchell said they’ll have to see how they manage to get people into the studio safely.
During reunion week at OU, Passion Works plans to build their float and would appreciate help from the students. There are many ways for students to get involved with Passion Works, and Mitchell said Passion Works seeks student participation.
“People are welcome to come into the store and see what’s going on,” Mitchell said. “Our production is up, and the art is in place. We are therefore in a good position and we look forward to the rest. “