By Chandler Berardi and Meghan Gauvin

starving artist pic EDITEDToronto born artist opens new Brantford restaurant dedicated to showcasing local talent.

The Starving Artist, owned by Christina Hajiioannou, is downtown’s newest opportunity for Brantford artists to share their passion.

All talent, including musicians, poets, photographers, costume designers, painters and more, is encouraged and ever changing.

“There is a need to be recognized and these people need someone to help them get recognized,” said Hajiioannou.

Hajiioannou emphasized that there is no lack of talent in Brantford, rather a lack of outlets for artists to display their work.

Art shows will be consistent events at the restaurant. There is room for 10 artists to be showcased at each show; currently there are five confirmed.

Hajiioannou decided to exclusively use Brantford companies, businesses and staff in her restaurant. She sees no need for competition between other businesses and instead plans to offer her support.

Artists are welcome to hand out business cards and sell merchandise without having to share their profit with the owner.

Hajiioannou wants her restaurant to act as free advertisement for the artists. She also intends on keeping her artists’ contact information on file to use as suggestions for those looking to hire.

The restaurant owner wants to work with her artists in order to boost their confidence, and make them realize that her restaurant is somewhere where they can feel safe and comfortable.

Singer/songwriter, and Laurier Brantford student, Emma Ruetz said, “this is going to be really exciting, I think, because it’s so unique. There’s no other place on campus where you can just go and be an artist.”

Hajiioannou stressed that customers do not have to be artistic.

“It’s unlike anything I have seen before, and it seems like the owner has a very unique vision,” said Julia Rajsigl, an art enthusiast and Laurier Brantford student.

The Starving Artist’s private opening is set for Friday June 26 and Saturday June 27. Hajiioannou plans to have the restaurant open to the public during the first week of July.

The restaurant’s menu will consist of crepes, paninis and soups, as well as microbrewery beer and local wine.

Laurier OneCards are something Hajiioannou would like to incorporate, as well as giving students a 10 per cent discount.

Having sold hundreds of her own paintings, Hajiioannou knows how beneficial and uplifting the opportunity of exposure is; she wants her artists to experience the same positivity she has.

“Art is interesting for anybody. People appreciate it in different ways but even people who aren’t artists find interest in art; it’s kind of one of those universal things,” said Ruetz.

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