I feel incredibly privileged to have had the opportunity to sit down with the Urban Artifact team and learn a little bit about who they are and how they came to be People of Northside. These folks are already making a huge impact on our little village. I can’t wait until they open and I can enjoy their selection of wild and tart beers while sitting in their taproom and listening to local bands perform. Read their background stories and prepare to be inspired. Also, don’t forget to check out the New Business Feature article for the background story on Urban Artifact.
Title: Chief of Organization
Responsibilities at Urban Artifact: Responsible for all the architecture design and construction of everything. Phasing his role into helping the rest of the team with their roles and overseeing operations.
Background: Hand, who “always wanted to be an architect” due to his “love for the organization of things,” attended DAAP at the University of Cincinnati and received his Bachelor of Science in Architecture and his Master of Architecture. In school, his specialty became architectural acoustics (the science and engineering of achieving a good sound within a building), and his thesis focused on an adaptable concert hall.
Though he never sought to make a career out of it, he also enrolled in music classes at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) due to his love of music. There he says he met a lot of great people and ended up starting a record label, Grayscale Records—which is where the name Grayscale Cincinnati derives. Grayscale Records focused on getting local artists out via digital distribution. This was before Itunes became popular and according to Hand, this was “essentially a way to get artists that I liked out to digital distribution outlets.”
After college Hand moved to Chicago and worked at an Architectural firm within his specialty, focusing on projects at performance arts facilities and theatres. When asked about his work, Hand says its exciting because you “learn something new on every project, and you never do the same thing twice.” In 2012 he moved back to Cincinnati to be closer to family. He and his wife Kelly live in Hyde Park along with their son Clark, who turns 2 in June. Kelly is a Forensic Analyst at the Hamilton County Coroner’s Laboratory and Hand maintains his position an architect at Childress & Cunningham in Walnut Hills.
Q: Why Northside? A: “We found the perfect facility in a unique established neighborhood. Ultimately we could have put it anywhere, and it would have been cheaper to build it in the suburbs, but we are excited we get to be Northside’s brewery. I’m really excited to have the community support. Every time I talk to somebody from Northside I hear “oh you are fixing up the old church!”
Finish the sentence, I am so Northside because… “I have 15 things going on and I’m still not done.”
Q: If we’re sitting here a year from now celebrating what a great year it’s been for you what did you achieve? A: “That we’ve been open for a year! The sanctuary will be done and the beer garden will be open, the flexible upstairs space will be in use.”
Q: What’s your superpower? A: “No matter how tired I am I can still make my son laugh.”
What do you do in your free time? “this…Urban Artifact is the culmination of all my hobbies, music, drinking beer and making stuff with my hands.”
Title: Chief of Entertainment and Events
Responsibilities at Urban Artifact: Hiring & managing staff and coordination of all artistic collaborations on the grounds including: nightly music, special events, art shows, record fairs, art groups, festivals and managing the beer garden and tap room.
Background: A trombone player since elementary school, Marino studied Jazz at the University of North Texas and went on to pursue his Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies at DePaul University in Chicago.
In 2010, when Marino’s wife Brittany, who he met in high school, was hired as a Pharmacist and Pharmacy Manager at the Mitchell Kroger, they moved back to Cincinnati and bought their first home. At that point Marino returned to school at CCM where he received his Master of Music in Jazz Studies and became an adjunct professor, teaching Jazz History and Jazz Composition for 3 years, and serving as director of the CCM Jazz Lab Band. Marino is also a composer, music arranger, sound engineer, and music producer. As a professional freelance trombonist, Marino has performed all across America for a variety of purposes. While Marino and his wife live in Oakley, they are currently on the look out for a home in Northside.
Q: Why Northside? A: “This opportunity came up and it really fit our model. The way the spaces were laid out, and the fact that it was in Northside was perfect. OTR is great and booming, but the Northside Community with its open-mindness, affinity for art, and the culture and history is something that really appealed to us. It’s been fun getting to know the community, we feel like we’ve found a real nice reception bringing this space back to life. I am really looking forward to collaborating with a lot of different people and local organizations and seeing what kind of awesome stuff we can make happen.”
Finish the sentence, I am so Northside because… “I am obsessed with my passion, which happens to be artistic expression and working with others and on creative collaborations. There is a lot of that here.”
Q: If we’re sitting here a year from now celebrating what a great year it’s been for you what did you achieve? A: “The fact that we were able to make a positive contribution to the city and to the neighborhood and bring positive attention on a national scale to Cincinnati. Hopefully we have created jobs and showcased some of the great talent of local artists and musicians. Being able to provide space to let people showcase their talents is a good thing for the community.”
On Music At Urban Artifact: “There will definitely be Jazz,” Urban Artifact will incorporate all “genres of music, showcasing all the best Cincinnati has to offer Jazz, Blues, Indie Rock, Hip Hop.”
Q: What’s your spirit animal? A: “Big Cats – Lions, Tigers and Leopards. They are powerful, noble animals, but you just want to jump up and hung them – they are tender at heart.”
Bret Kollman Baker
Title: Chief of Brewing Operations
Responsibilities at Urban Artifact: Brewing, manufacturing, curing, supplies. Getting beer from grain to glass.
Background: Kollman Baker was born and raised in Wooster, Ohio. He attended Ohio University in Athens where he received his Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering in 2011. He also has a Brewing Science and Technology certificate from the Institute of Brewing and Distilling. After college Kollman Baker worked in Fermentation Science at Cargill in Omaha, Nebraska. In December 2014 Kollman Baker and his wife Stephanie bought a house in Northside. Stephanie is the Volunteer Coordinator at Tender Mercies in Cincinnati.
Q: Why Northside? A: “Economically, this neighborhood is on the upswing and the growth seems sustainable. It’s the only neighborhood in Cincinnati that really feels like a community to me. I feel like I am home when I am in this neighborhood. Something about Northside feels like home. It feels like a city in the city and you are 10 minutes from anywhere you want to go. It’s extremely livable. Everything is fantastic. I don’t know how you could want to live anywhere else. ”
Finish the sentence, I am so Northside because… “I frickin love Tacos!”
Q: If we’re sitting here a year from now celebrating what a great year it’s been for you what did you achieve? A: “That we created a space and a community where people can come and be together and feel like they belong. As long as people are having a great time and having experiences. To me that’s what life is all about…trying new experiences and building that community around this neighborhhodd, around this community and around this church is really what success will look like. And having people like the beers that I made.”
A Unique Adventure: After his wife Stephanie graduated in in June 2014 they decided to hike the Appalachian trail that runs from Northern Maine to Northern Georgia, which typically takes about 6 months. However, they only made it 45 days, from Maine to Hanover, New Hampshire, about 450 miles. While in New Hampshire Kollman Baker got the call about the Urban Artifact looking for brewers. They immediatly cut the trip short because they knew this was the opportunity of they had been waiting for.
Q: What do you do in your free time? A: “I love hiking and camping. I hike Mt. Airy Forest and others parks. Cincinnati has tons of good spots to camp and hike. “
Q: What does your future entail? A: “For now, my plan is to stay in Northside. But when I retire I want to open a small brewery on the beach in the Caribbean or Eastern United States while Stephanie teaches scuba diving.”
Title: Chief of Strategic Development
Responsibilities at Urban Artifact: Sales, marketing, HR administrative, employee development programs.
Background: Hunter grew up on the East Side, in Deer Park. He attended Ohio University and graduated with a degree in Chemical Engineering in 2010. After graduating he worked in Arkansas as a processing engineer. While living in Arkansas he began looking for a more focused operational position in an urban area and found a position at Advanced Peer Foods in Tri-County as Production Supervisor & Production Scheduler, which is where he worked until January of this year. Currently Scott is working on an MBA degree at Indiana Wesleyan University, which he will complete in 3 months. Hunter resides in Northside, and buying a house here is on the horizon.
Q: Why Northside? A: “Northside fits us, and we fit Northside. When we first bought the property we realized just how well it fit. As we got out in the neighborhood we realized we couldn’t have picked a better place. Great stuff within walking distance. Didn’t expect to find this community feel again. Eclectic nature of our beer styles and our venture overall is a perfect fit for Northside and for us. ”
Finish the sentence, I am so Northside because… “because I am not traditional in my views of the world.”
Q: If we’re sitting here a year from now celebrating what a great year it’s been for you what did you achieve? A: “We opened the doors. At this point it is a culmination of the hard work of getting the business going. Getting it open and continuing to grow it to what we know it can became and what it can mean for the Northside community, not just us.”
Q: What are your hobbies? A: “I read a lot. I have 15-20 books in my current cue. I order more than I can read. A lot of them are focused on personal development, marketing, sales etc.- more ‘soft’ skills.”
Q: Any other aspirations? A: “I love to cook. One day I would like to open a little mom and pop restaurant. I started teaching myself to cook at the age of 13. By 14 I cooked Thanksgiving for my entire family. Now I can take that love and combine it with my love of beer and some of the events they will put on in the church.”
Don’t forget to check out this month’s New Business Feature article for the background story on Urban Artifact.