LIMA — A grassroots effort to cultivate entrepreneurs and artists in Lima plans on reviving its monthly entertainment lineup and annual street party later in 2021, after the coronavirus pandemic temporarily disrupted the group’s efforts to showcase local culture.
The Legacy Arts District, a small business and arts collaborative founded in 2019, was just starting to see some success: the group held its first street party months earlier and was already planning a second, while a series of concerts and comedy nights were starting to draw crowds.
Member businesses had recently moved into Legacy Arts co-founder Marc Bowker’s Main Street building, home to Alter Ego Comics, allowing new and experienced business owners alike to share space and ideas, and ultimately collaborate on projects they hoped would make downtown Lima a place people wanted to visit.
But the coronavirus complicated those efforts, as large events were now off limits and many entrepreneurs were struggling to survive.
Still, 10 months later, the Legacy Arts District is expanding again and planning to host the second Legacy Arts Street Party on Aug. 7. And a renovation at the Main Street building will allow even more tenants to move into the second floor sometime next year.
Once complete, shoppers will be able to browse through comic books and wines in the front of the store before heading out back to catch a concert or comedy set, or head upstairs to shop and support local artisans. Those business owners will in turn have access to an incubator-style environment.
“What makes this different is it’s very organic; it’s very grassroots; it’s very genuine about trying to improve our community,” Bowker said.
Bowker started Legacy Arts with Omar Zehery, a local artist who found his own recording studio and record label years earlier, alongside fellow entrepreneurs Jennifer Brogee, Sarah Stover and Kayla Nocera.
The group has since added NOW Marketing Group’s Jessika Phillips as well as Alisa McPheron and Melanie Kirchenbauer, who are getting ready to launch their latest venture — The Purple Feet Wine Boutique, which will sell a combination of wines and baked goods.