CINCINNATI — Barbara Hauser had a simple goal in February 2014, when she first hosted the Red Door Project pop-up art gallery in an empty storefront on Vine Street in Over-the-Rhine. She wanted to provide a space "for the artist in all of us."
“I thought it was this cool idea and that we would do it a couple of times,” she said.
Hauser soon will celebrate two years of displaying and selling the work of more than 400 local artists through the monthly Red Door shows, which rotate throughout the region. The Contemporary Arts Center, Downtown, will host the pop-up gallery’s anniversary show 6-9 p.m. Thursday.
“We are so very proud to host the Red Door Project for its second anniversary and to celebrate its accomplishments,” said Raphaela Platow, director at the CAC. “The Red Door Project has inspired artists from all walks of life to create and share their work, becoming a passageway for all creatives to come together and ultimately creating a community of artists and art appreciators.”
Each month Hauser selects a theme and asks for art submissions on the Red Door’s Facebook page. Thursday’s show will display more than 180 pieces of art that play on the idea “Series.” It's an allusion to Hauser’s first piece of art -- involving red doors -- that she submitted to a show in Over-the-Rhine more than a decade ago.
There also will be free cake during the event, as well as drinks available for purchase from Collective CAC.
Artist Matt Meyung will be one of the artists on hand to thank Hauser for providing the Red Door as a space for new artists to show, and sell, their art.
“Barbara allows an open submission that is not juried,” Meyung said. “My first artwork submission to a show was at the Red Door Project. At that show I sold my piece, which felt amazing and built my confidence to continue submitting art.”
Meyung, who had toyed with the idea beforehand, decided to open a permanent gallery, Artifact, in Newport with business partner Jason Davis following his experience at the Red Door. Meyung’s wife, Molly Meyer, also supported the move.
Hauser said it is stories like Meyung’s that push her to continue hosting the gallery each month.
“I think the proudest moment is when the artwork sells,” she said. “People who buy the piece want to know who the artist is. I feel like the Red Door is making art accessible to purchase for everybody. The appreciation I get from the artists has also been surprising. When I see those notes and posts, I know that it is worth it.”
Equally rewarding for Hauser are the partnerships she has formed with venues that have hosted the gallery in vacant spaces in neighborhoods such as Clifton, Covington, Walnut Hills and Over-the-Rhine. Hauser said she will continue to leverage pop-up gallery locations to maximize exposure for artists and businesses she wants to partner with.
Artifact, at 114 E. Eighth St. in Newport, will host the Red Door’s March 25 show with the theme of “Urban Community.”
“I’m really trying to come up with a theme and a partner and then think of a location that brings them together,” she said. “I want to celebrate all of the artists and impact that the Red Door has had in the community.”