There’s not a wall, shelf or mirror in Sam B’s that isn’t adorned with pictures, paintings and works of art from local artists. On Sept. 12 at 7-9 p.m., Sam B’s in downtown Bowling Green will host the “Places & Spaces” event to showcase and introduce new pieces of artwork being added to their collection.
Sam B’s became part of the Bowling Green community in 1972 when James Ferrell and a few of his colleagues decided to start their own restaurant. After Sam B’s moved around the city several times throughout the years, Ferrell realized the current location on Main Street “needed a facelift” and consulted his good friend and regional artist, Emanuel Enriquez, to brainstorm ways to make the place more visually appealing. Together they formed the idea to incorporate “rotating artwork” within the restaurant, though Ferrell attributes the creative thought to Enriquez.
Soon after, Ferrell came into contact with Annette Jensen, the original founder of a company called PRIZM Creative Community. Although PRIZM is no longer running, Jensen and several other artists in the community have continued to act out their mission statement as the Friends of PRIZM to “bring our communities the cultural enrichment of the arts” and to “inspire and encourage artistic expression,” according to the Friends of PRIZM Facebook page.
“We try to continue to support the artist community by getting new artists exposed and letting them show their work,” Jensen said. She and other volunteers are responsible for finding artists and choosing which artwork to put up.
The collections are switched out every three to four months, but there are a few select pieces that remain constant. Jensen stated, “every single time we change out the gallery, we have an opening so that people can come and meet the artists, mingle and network. It gives the artists a chance to invite their patrons and friends.” Ferrell says the group really does a great job.
The relationship with the artists, restaurant and community is a “win-win-win situation,” as described by Ferrell. “The artists can display their work at no cost, the artwork adds something to the restaurant and the guests can enjoy the artwork,” he said. Additionally, Sam B’s sells each piece of artwork, but doesn’t make any profits from the sale. The artists receive 100% of the commission.
Jensen mentioned how having the artwork is something that makes the restaurant unique while supporting local artists. “It’s nice to see such a collection come together and have a variety of such wonderful things that local artists have created. I really appreciate the talent that northwest Ohio has. We have so many talented people.”