That’s the motto of the Maria Neil Art Project, host of the the Winterloo Art Mix showcase, which is running for one more weekend before hibernating until next holiday season.
Run by John Farina and his partner Adam Tully, owners of the Maria Neil Art Project gallery (15813 Waterloo Rd), which opened in September, the Winterloo Art Mix is an eclectic mix of collectible and novelty art by a group of eight hand-selected local artists. The Art Mix opened November 1 as a holiday, gift-oriented show. The artists are all reasonably priced and Farina promises it’s not your standard exhibition.
“We have stuff as low as cards that are four bucks a piece,” he said. While not all items are that inexpensive, most of the art in the exhibition is around $15, $25 to $45, with some jewelry in the two to three-hundred dollar range.
One of the more unique artists involved with the art mix is Bridget Ginley, who makes flower collages from found items such as paper, metal, golf tees and clock parts.
Other artists are:
Ray Caspio, illustration
Gina Desantis, ceramics
Morgan Randall, jewelry
Dawn Tekler, paint, photography
Mark Yesenchack, ceramics, collage
“Hopefully there are people out there still looking for something to give [for the holidays],” Farina said. “Art is much more interesting than giving someone a tie or a scarf – unless, of course, it’s a locally-made tie or a locally-made scarf.”
All framing is custom and done offsite.
The Winterloo Art Mix is open this weekend, Friday 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.
The mission of the Maria Neil Art Project, Farina explained, is to work with traditionally underrepresented, local Cleveland artists, and serve as a forum to offer those artists a place to show their work and to make sure that art is financially accessible. In the gallery space, there may be art hanging on the walls that costs $2,000 or more, but Farina guaranteed that there is always something there that’s in the few hundred dollar or less-range.
All of the artists in the gallery are from Cleveland, too.
“This is geared towards Cleveland artists. That’s the mission,” said Farina,” it’s really Cleveland focused.”
If there’s anywhere in the 216 and its surroundings that could sustain a mutually beneficial relationship with a local art gallery, it’s the Collinwood Arts district. Waterloo Road is home to multiple small art galleries, amazing food options, book shops, tattoo parlors and, of course, the legendary Beachland Ballroom.
“This, (Waterloo), was kind of the right neighborhood to do it in,” Farina said on why he and Tully chose the area to open their gallery. “There’s a lot of up-and-coming things going on here.”
And he’s right. The existing businesses can, I’m sure, attest to the support for the local arts scene in the small neighborhood. On the verge of falling into “commune” territory, the people of Collinwood love their art, and galleries like Maria Neil depend on and thrive in that condition, with the support of socially conscious collectors and their interested but less experienced counterparts..
“We want to pull from the collecting community,” Farina said. “But we also want to encourage new collectors. We want to bring people in who might have been unfamiliar, or maybe were concerned about it being too expensive to buy art or didn’t know where to get it.”
One of Farina and Tully’s primary missions is to encourage new collectors and newbies to the art scene to get some experience and face time with real, local art.
“We want to get people in the gallery to see that art is friendly and accessible, and that they should have it,” he said.
From this holiday season to next, and everything in between, Don’t give boring … give ART.
Follow me on Twitter @CLEfound.