Artist Central expands with residential living

WICHITA — Artist Central, the artist work space and gallery on Central just east of Oliver, is expanding again in a rather unusual way.

Clifton Square owner Jo Zakas, who started Artist Central in 2011, has purchased the two four-plex apartments next to the artist space and is going to expand her concept to include residential living for artists.

There are eight one-bedroom apartments, each of which is furnished and has a carport, that will lease for $375 a month.

“And they’re cute,” Zakas says.

Though she’s open to renting to anyone, Zakas says she especially hopes to attract artists of all kinds.

“Now they can have a place to paint, they can have a place to live, they can have a place to show, they can have a place to sell … all in that one little area.”

They can take classes, too, she says.

“We still are needing more artists, and we need more students for the classes,” Zakas says.

Artist Central has evolved beyond the vision she initially had for it.

“I was taking a class with a few other people, and we decided we needed a place to paint,” Zakas says. “The next thing we knew, we were doing Final Friday.”

Then the gallery and work space grew. Zakas says she thinks residential makes sense for the latest expansion.

“I just think it’s a smart move.”

You don’t say

“We are moving on.”

Jo Zakas on how the French family with the cross-country saga won’t be opening a restaurant at Clifton Square after all, so she’s looking for a new restaurant or retail business for the space

OT Media to move to part of Artist Central’s former gallery space

UPDATED — The 2-year-old Artist Central at 5014 E. Central is going to reduce in size to make way for a new business.

OT Media is a portrait photography and videography business that Nick Thomas has been running from his home.

“This will be our first …office,” he says. “Our team’s gotten bigger, and so we need a space.”

He now has three employees. Thomas says he offers portraits and “kind of like lifetime event videography,” such as weddings and graduations.

The OT in OT Media stands for Thomas’ middle name, Owen, and his last name.

The space his business will be in used to be Artist Central’s gallery space.

“We’re basically splitting Artist Central,” Thomas says. “So they’re going to have half the area now.”

Jo Zakas, the Clifton Square owner who started Artist Central, says Artist Central still will have 2,500 square feet.

“We felt that this was such a great addition to Artist Central,” she says of OT Media. “They’re artists. … They’re young, and they’re enthusiastic, so we think they’re just going to add a really bright spot to us.”

Zakas has news coming soon about artists’ residences at Artist Central.

“We really want to make Central Canyon Road,” she says, referring to the famed gallery row in Santa Fe, N.M.

Thomas will debut his new space at next week’s Final Friday.

You don’t say

“We are willing to do whatever we can to help the French family fulfill their dreams of living in … a capitalistic, free society.”

Jo Zakas, who is eager to fill the restaurant space at Clifton Square but also is willing to work with the Fraikin family to end their odyssey across America and open their Au Paris-Bruxelles restaurant here

Newest Young Rembrandts site to be at Artist Central

WICHITA — Think your child is a Rembrandt in the making?

Carla Calvert is going to cater to young artists with a new Young Rembrandts location.

The Chicago-based international franchise offers step-by-step drawing lessons for preschool and elementary school children.

“We’re really designed for after-school programming,” Calvert says.

She offers classes at the Maize Recreation Center, the Goddard Community Center, the Church of the Holy Spirit and is adding a location at Jo ZakasArtist Central at 5014 E. Central next month. That’s on the north side of Central between Oliver and Edgemoor.

Calvert says her instructors are “art enthusiasts, educators and enjoy working with children.”

Young Rembrandts is designed to, among other things, help children become better observers while developing motor skills and increasing their confidence.

In May and throughout summer, Calvert will offer one-hour classes Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Wichita Jazz Festival office to open at Clifton Square

WICHITA — Clifton Square at 3700 E. Douglas is going to be the new home of the Wichita Jazz Festival office.

Executive director Craig Owens has been running the 41-year-old group from his office at Wichita State University where he’s director of the jazz studies program and teaches jazz guitar.

“It’s just important for the festival to have its own office,” Owens says. “It’s just the next natural step in the development of our organization.”

The group, which has a weeklong festival every April and educational activities throughout the year, also is adding staff for the new office.

Clifton Square developer Jo Zakas says the Wichita Jazz Festival will help her celebrate the center’s 40th birthday this fall.

“I would like to have a citywide community jazz day at Clifton Square,” she says. “We’ll just make it an all-day thing.”

Zakas says she’s surprised Clifton Square has been around so long. Then she rethinks it.

“I knew we’d be here this long. I’m just surprised it came so quickly.”

Artist Central adds artists and square footage

WICHITA — The new Artist Central on East Central between Oliver and Edgemoor is already expanding.

Clifton Square owner Jo Zakas and a group of other artists opened the space late last year to create, show and sell art.

It has grown from 900 square feet to 2,400 square feet and has three new private art studios, one of which is still available.

New artists have also joined the group, including Pamela Lamont, who used to be in Delano, and Bob Bayer, an abstract artist who started painting at age 75.

“Isn’t that great?” Zakas says.

California transplant Joseph Parker also has joined the group.

“He has got some very interesting work,” Zakas says.

The group has debuted a monthly artist’s talk – Steve Murillo took the first one – and is starting acrylic paint classes Jan. 18

The $150 class is every Wednesday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. for 10 weeks.

Zakas says the studio has kicked off in a big way.

“We’ve had tremendous support from everyone, including our artists, which we are just extremely thankful for.”


Artist Central to open for artists to create, show and sell their work

WICHITA — Clifton Square owner Jo Zakas and a group of other artists are opening a new space to create, show and sell art.

Artist Central will be at 5014 E. Central, which is on the north side of Central between Oliver and Edgemoor.

“Primarily it’s an artist’s studio where people can come and work,” Zakas says.

Other artists include Carol Cumberland, Barbara Niewald, Vicki McIlroy and internationally known artist and teacher Jim Gross.

Initially, they’ll have 900 square feet, which has been vacant since U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran had a campaign office there.

Zakas says there’s room to grow to 2,400 square feet.

“We’re looking for some additional artists, too,” she says.

The artists have a particular focus on abstract work, though they’re open to any kind of artists joining them, including photographers.

Art isn’t new to Zakas, who is best known for her Clifton Square retail center near College Hill.

“You know, I’ve been doing art since the ’80s,” she says. “It all started because I needed paintings for my wall, and everything I looked at was $6,000.”

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New owner of Liquid Sun will relocate and possibly expand at Clifton Square

WICHITA — Alicia Dixon manages the Walgreens in Derby, but she’s always known she wanted her own shop.

“I have just always had a fire to run my own business,” she says.

So she’s purchased the Liquid Sun spray-tanning salon near Central and Webb and is moving it to Clifton Square in College Hill.

“It will help me draw from both sides of Wichita,” Dixon says. “It just has a unique feel.”

She also thinks that being near similar businesses, including two massage places and a couple of salons, will help draw customers.

“It’s in our ‘beauty row,’ ” says Clifton Square owner Jo Zakas. “That’s a new name. . . . Isn’t that cute?”

Dixon is already thinking of expanding within her first year by growing into a day spa or adding a boutique in addition to offering tanning.

“It is just kind of a good stepping stone for me.”

New bar to locate in former Clifton Wine and Jazz space

– There’s a new bar going in the former Clifton Wine and Jazz space at the Clifton Square development at 3700 E. Douglas.

Owner John Fitzthum isn’t sharing details just yet, but it sounds like the venue will feature a variety of music.

Clifton Square owner Jo Zakas owned Clifton Wine and Jazz but found it was too much to run the bar and the center. She closed earlier this summer.

Like the previous bar, it sounds like the new venue will serve food as well.

Look for more details closer to the opening, which most likely will be in October.