Arts & Culture Patron: Charlee Denise Harris

Charlee Denise Harris operates So Fresh Used Auto, a 3rd generation, black, woman, and family-owned auto repair and car dealership. She also serves as the Creative Director of the East Ave Market & Gallery. Much of Charlee’s life has centered around the arts, from cross country family trips to art museums to being an alumnus of the Miller South School for the Visual and Performing Arts. Her passion for the arts led her to work behind the scenes in the art world.

Charlee has worked in the education department at the Cleveland Museum of Art. She has also served as a studio assistant to local artists, helping them operationalize the business of their art. Her expertise led her to launch the East Ave Market & Gallery with the help of her family. The East Ave Market gives local artisans a place to sell their unique products. The gallery brings diverse art to the Kenmore neighborhood while providing local artists an opportunity to exhibit their work.

Recently Charlee has been busy curating new shows and working on upcoming programming for the gallery. She continues to search for more ways to broaden the reach of the art space and support artists.

What was your first introduction to the arts/culture scene in Summit County?
As a stay-at-home mother and entrepreneur, my parents had the flexibility to keep us active in Summit counties arts & culture scene. We visited the “old” Akron Art Museum, the Akron Zoo and always checked out the local art scene. My mom took us to a lot of non-traditional art spaces. We would look at the permanent art collection in the Ocasek building, Summit County courthouse, and other government buildings downtown. We would frequent the salvage shop on Arlington for art supplies too.

What artist/arts organization in Summit County do you wish more people knew about?
The East Avenue Market & Gallery of course! I’m really excited about our 2022 programming and exhibitions. We have plans for broader reach, workshops and of course, bring back our Second Saturday event. I’m looking forward to working more closely with my sister Charisse who is the East Avenue Gallery Exhibition & Programming manager.