Emily Buddendeck has many skills. I recently popped into her shop, NVISION, 4577 Hamilton Avenue, to ask about her business, her connection to Northside, and most importantly, about her role in the history of the Cincinnati art scene from the late ‘90’s until now. I have heard her name and seen her face since I moved back to Cincinnati in 2001, and one thing is clear: Emily is humble. She is soft-spoken and modest about her accomplishments, yet she is aware of her talents, which I find refreshing. She is not one to name drop, or list her awards or achievements, so writing about her successes was challenging. Although Emily is on the quiet side, she is very easy to talk to about the interesting life she has led.
Six+ years ago, during the rise of the local D.I.Y. movement, Emily quit her job and opened a business in the vacant rental space next door to the Comet. Although she had never run a retail store before, she wanted to provide a showcase that incorporated her love of art, fashion and design with her passion for vintage, hand-made items and sewing as well as her experience as a curator. Her love is clear. Everything about NVISION is divine. Every wall, display-case, corner and window in her store is beautiful and imaginative. I joked that her mannequins could stop traffic, and she mentioned hearing that before. You are in your car, coming around the Hamilton Avenue bend, you have the light, and boom… That Dress! I must have that dress. The most perfect shade of yellow, or purple, or lime green, or cobalt blue.
Emily knows her stuff. Her dedication to history is evident, and she takes the time to learn and do research on the age, the designer, the era, and the worth of all of her products. The prices reflect it. Just ask Bruno Mars, as he recently shopped at NVISION. He questioned a price tag, and Emily pointed out that the original price tag was still on the brand-new item, and her price was less than half! Pretty sure he won a Grammy or two, right? I think he can afford Northside.
Emily moved to town from the Dayton area to attend DAAP at the University of Cincinnati, but decided the program was not for her. After winning a highly competitive City of Cincinnati Individual Artist Grant in 1998, Emily began to curate quarterly one-night-only’ art events at her Over the Rhine apartment, on 12th and Vine, calling the gallery Sanctum Sanctorum. A couple years and apartment galleries later, she was approached to become founding director of a much larger venue, the Mockbee Building, turning it into a gigantic three-story performance and exhibition space on Central Parkway in Brighton, near Over the Rhine. In August 2001, she opened SSNOVA (Sanctum Sanctorum Nonprofit Organization & Venue for the Arts) and began as the building’s first curator/director. During her two years there, she did amazing work, all volunteer, and produced programming that included countless exhibits, performances, and events. It was a golden age for the arts in Cincinnati, including large-scale works of art, fashion, puppetry, poetry, music and more. Plus, the parties were stellar. The venue hosted several shows a week, and partnered with the Contemporary Art Center, Cincinnati Film Society, UC’s DAAP and Art Academy programs, the International Sculpture Conference, and many other collaborators. Emily did it all, but after two years, she left to pursue work on a few other projects with other local arts non-profits, including coordinating a fascinating spoken word CD for InkTank, a (now defunct) writing and literacy center. Then she decided to combine all of her skills and passions, and sewing. This lady is a whiz with a needle.
Signs posted at NVISION remind us of her talents. She can alter almost anything, whether it is stuff you find at her shop, or clothes you bring for her to fix. According to Emily, the name NVISION was intended to endure growth. “I thought of names that begin with ‘re’ — refurbish, re-purpose, revision,” this led me to ‘envision’, which means imagine. Dropping the “e” leaves pronunciation the same, and NVISION came into being.” NVISION revolves around the notion that one can imagine infinite possibilities with each item from the shop.
NVISION is open Wednesday-Friday 2pm-9pm, and Saturdays and Sundays, 12pm- 9pm. NVISION has an exciting show opening in October, as part of the regional FOTOFOCUS series. Starting October 1, local photographer and Northsider Andrea Millette will show her work: Girl Detective, photography and photo composites. Opening night is Saturday, October 11th 6-10PM. Any fan of Nancy Drew will need to investigate.
For More Info:
Stop In: 4577 Hamilton Ave. Northside
Visit and shop online: nvisionshop.com
By Lora Jost