Downtown Kent offers eclectic art scene for a diverse university

Heather Scarlett

Lasso the Moon in downtown Kent features works by the owners and employees, as well as items imported from India, Indonesia, Nepal and Bali. Opened in 1994, Lasso the Moon is just now expanding their bead room. ALLIEY BENDER | SUMMER KENT STATER

Credit: Steve Schirra

New students, whether from in or out-of-state, may be wondering what to do with those drab dorm room walls. But for those who enjoy art or anything to do with it, the diverse art scene in downtown Kent is a great place to start.

Here’s a hint: Go downtown and visit Lasso the Moon. Located at 135 E. Main St., the store has mainly jewelry but also unique and hand-crafted pieces from all over the world, ranging from jewelry boxes from India and dragonfly wall hangings.

“Myself and my husband wanted to travel, so we started setting up at rock concerts and colleges to sell,” said store owner Diane Hofmeister.

Hofmeister said she and her husband were attracted to the “artiness” and small town atmosphere of Kent.

Lasso the Moon also offers interactive functions.

“We’ll be offering beading classes in the fall semester on Sundays,” Hofmeister said. The class will cost $30, and participants get $30 worth of material in return, she said.

“I like to inspire people to be creative. Everybody is creative, and they just don’t know it,” Hofmeister said.

Lasso the Moon also discounts for students with a “Key to Kent” card.

Those with more of a “funky” personality may want to go see The Works. The store has been at its 130 E. Main St. location for 21 years and is owned by Nancy and Jenny Arthur, a mother-daughter duo.

“There is a big hodge-podge of things going on in here,” said Lacey Young, an art education and art history student at Kent State.

The Works has a massive collection of everything under the sun, from artistically framed mirrors to chandeliers meant for holding candles.

“We have 250 artists across the U.S.,” Young said.

The shop also has a host of things made by local artists.

“(We have) something like 15 local artists,” Jenny Arthur said.

For instance, Don Drumm is a local artist whose work is displayed in the shop. Drumm, who works with pewter and aluminum sculptures, has pieces all over the world, Young said.

The Works also has pieces by Elise and Leandra Drumm, Don Drumm’s daughters. Elise does folk art and Leandra, who went to Kent State, does etched glass, which has a “more whimsical and childlike-ness” to it, Young said.

“It lets you . . . see things outside of the usual manufactured products,” Young said about the pieces the store carries.

Lastly, those who like browsing in a regular art gallery and would like to see art pieces produced by Kent State students can visit the Kent State University School of Arts Downtown Gallery. The gallery is run by Anderson Turner, director of galleries at Kent State. Kent State is affiliated with: the Eells Gallery in Blossom Music Center, the collection gallery in the Kent State art building, the Michener Gallery in the library, and the Downtown Gallery, Turner said.

The Downtown Gallery is affiliated with the main gallery on campus, said senior psychology major Danielle Seidita.

The building where the gallery is located used to be part of the historic Franklin mill, Seidita said. “It has a more eclectic sense to it,” she added.

Seidita said everything in the gallery is for sale, and they change their show about once a month.

The gallery has pieces ranging from a bronze sculpture of a woman’s torso entitled “The Goddess’ Bodice/Sedna” to spun glass to mixed media pieces.

“People buy here because they want to support the students’ work,” Seidita said.

Contact general assignment reporter Heather Scarlett at [email protected].