Local artist brings life to the walls of Emerge and creative outlets for their residents

Mike Elsass’ Art Heads to emerge 

XENIA — A renowned local artist has been working to bring life to the walls at Emerge Recovery & Trade Initiative — starting with the men’s recovery housing space, set to open later in June.

Mike Elsass has a long history of giving back to area nonprofits. Working with his team, the artist is now helping Emerge with the donation of original artwork. 

“Mike is creating a synergy among the art community to give back as he has done for decades,” said Elaine Bonner, director of philanthropy at Emerge. “He wants to contribute to a meaningful cause and bring art experiences into the lives of the people we serve at Emerge.” 

Elsass and his team will also be working with several well-known artists in Greene County to complete the project

This relationship started as Mike donated an art experience to Emerge’s inaugural fundraising event, Embrace the Journey. “Elaine  asked if I would help and I donated art to support their event last October. She  approached me this year about bringing my art into the 10,000 square foot men’s housing area with massive blank walls. I’m excited about their mission and am taking the lead to invite other artists to join us.”

In phase two, Elsass and his team will install additional larger scale art pieces and they will return to Emerge this fall to create art with residents and clinicians to provide a healthy outlet as part of their holistic treatment plan.

“We’ll probably have a nature theme as Emerge is nestled among 45 acres,” he said. “We should end up with 200 pieces of art to sell that will fund additional programming. We are also working with Greene County artists.”

Elsass said his message to the community is to let them know this is a project worth supporting. 

“A lot of the charities I work with are here and gone,” Elsass said. “Emerge isn’t going away.”


About Mike Elsass

Using rusted, weathered steel and texture and layers of paint, Mike Elsass shares his artistic vision with the world as a creative process focused more on experience than outcome. Using various sizes and shapes, he captures a balance between rusted metal and nature-inspired palettes. 

Elsass describes himself as a reformed businessman. In 2000, he closed a chapter in life in order to follow his dream of becoming a writer. Along the way, he bought a painting from Dayton Artist Roger Sayre that would inspire a very different artistic journey.  Elsass started working in Sayre’s studio, earning an apprenticeship and developing a deep friendship that motivated him to find his own path through contemporary art. Today, Elsass is fascinated by the medium of weathered steel. Inspired to constantly experiment with this medium, his artistic vision yields contemporary abstracts inspired by his vision of nature and time, perfection and imperfection, joy and suffering and other aspects of the human condition, which he mixes with the beauty of nature. 

For more on Mike Elsass and his artwork, go to https://mikeelsass.com/ 


To follow the progress of Emerge, contact Elaine Bonner at 937.974.6120 or elaine.bonner@emergerecoverytrade.com