The color of a creative community

    [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="402"] photos shot by El Roble Middle School students are posted on the art wall in the Village. And then there's my girl , who couldnt resist a chance to sail her balloon.[/caption] Claremont was the city i always wanted to live in. I was a small girl whose mama would drive me and my sisters and brother there to use the wading pool at Memorial Park, and eat fried chicken on blankets at the city's annual fireworks show. Indian Hill caught my breath in fall, with its arched trees snowing yellow leaves along that asphalt curve that cuts through the city's famed Village. I loved nature then, and now, and nothing within our local communities spoke to my young, earthy sensibilities the same way. And that is to say nothing of its well-formed homes and their sturdy, historic bones that sprung from the former ground of citrus groves. These mid-section marvels have long been a magnet for home tours, historians, and probably simple romantics like me, who draw comfort from its oxymoronic blend of comfortable grandeur, and inviting porches, flower gardens, and glowing evening windows. This morning while at a children's birthday party at Claremont Chef's Academy, i found myself in awe all over again--- not for the old, but for the new. The summer slipped by with occasional visits to the Village for me and my own family, mostly for frozen yogurt. But i'd not seen some of the newer businesses that today caught my eye in the Village's Packing House. And although i wont belabor this blog with every tenant's name, i was heart-swellingly proud to be part of a community that supports the richness of the arts and the color that comes from embracing, and encouraging, creativity. In just two floors of a refurbished citrus-packing plant, visitors will encounter craft coffee and ice cream, a museum of art, an art studio for kids, a loft for "eclectic" art exhibitions, a used book store supporting a prison library project, stand-up comedy, vintage clothing and recycled home decor, needle arts, a studio for pilates, wine, a smart-looking deli with plenty of seating, organic pizza, crepes, and raved-about burgers. And if ive overlooked others, as im sure i have, my apologies. I was distracted by my lasting community awe. [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="360"] kids (and adults!) can take cooking classes throughout the year at Chef's Academy. But they also book birthday parties , which reinforces creative, hands-on fun in the kitchen.[/caption]   [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="480"] an art studio for children (wanted to take all these monsters home)[/caption]   [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="640"] The Whisper House beckons with spirits and burgers[/caption]   [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="480"] two loves come together in this cute space: coffee on one side, ice cream on the other[/caption]   [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="480"] they had me at gently used books; The Claremont Forum and Prison Library Project[/caption]   [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="480"] i'm 75 percent sure this cool place is Beer-Belly deli, a light-infused space for cold drinks & sandwiches[/caption]  

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