The Next: R-House shifts to art venue

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    Inside R-House bar where the venue will host its inaugural art show, chainmail jewelry artist Michelle Maddux, of Serenity In Chains, left, poses with R-House event promoter and showing artist. Shown in the foreground is Maddux' piece, Phoenix Rising.

    The Blade/Kurt Steiss
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  • The R-House Bar on Secor Road has been an anyone-welcome, come-as-you-are neighborhood bar since it opened in 1995. 

    But in all that time of civic hospitality and LGBTQ openness, it has remained solely a bar.

    But R-House event promoter John Ladd has aimed to change that. 

    This Sunday, for the first time, it becomes a one-off art venue in an event called as it is, the “Art in the Bar, Booze & Buy.”

    You can’t get much straighter than that. 

    R-House is going to have art in the bar, patrons will drink, and patrons will engage in aesthetic consideration for commercial exchange — they’ll buy art.

    “We just wanted to do something different than the standard bar entertainment,” said Ladd, who also will show his jewelry work that is sold under the moniker P.H. Asylum.

    Ladd and owners Karl Wilgus and his husband Tommy Wilcox each hope the event can potentially establish R-House as an art venue in a somewhat colorless business desert of West Toledo. 

    But rather than a massive undertaking, he felt the bar and the artists would benefit more from a small show with a handful of curated artists. 

    One of whom is Toledo’s Michelle Maddux, owner of Serenity In Chains, whose chic, refined chainmail work has been featured on network and cable TV, the Etsy front page, and Seventeen magazine. 

    VIDEO: John Ladd and Michelle Maddux discuss the inaugural art show at R-House

    “I’ve known John for years and we have done big stuff together,” said Maddux, referring to massive, sprawling festivals such as Crosby Gardens and Black Swamp Arts. “We just wanted to do something more intimate.”

    Rounding out that intimate group of featured artists will be soap artisan Stephanie Marie Bellwest, abstract painter Alisha Flores, and jewelry artist Kerry Mackert

    The work is to be displayed on the patio, but if there’s rain, it will move inside. For more information on the event, visit R-House.

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    Contact Phillip Kaplan at, and follow on Twitter @filkap; Andy Morrison may be contacted at