Sharon Weiss Gallery celebrates twenty years in Short North
The Sharon Weiss Gallery has been an important part of the Short North Arts District for quite some time, and is celebrating twenty years in the business this month.
“I opened in the Short North in 1994 at 8 East Poplar Street as Antiques and Art on Poplar,” says owner Sharon Weiss. “For several years I sold more antiques than art, but as the years moved ahead art by local artists became my focus.”
For over forty years, Weiss has collected Ohio art and as her knowledge of art grew, her business grew, eventually outgrowing the space on Poplar, and the name.
“When one of my favorite Short North spaces became available, I moved my business, changed my name, and began to really concentrate on my true passion ART!”
With the gallery, Weiss shares her passion for collecting art with others by providing a low-pressure environment where guests are able to meet and converse with the artists.
“My goal remains always to inspire artists to follow their passion,” says Weiss, “and to remind guests to the gallery how crucial art is to our lives. I am not an artist myself, but I so admire artists and the gifts they share.”
At the gallery, Weiss exhibits forty artists from all walks of life, ranging in age from their early twenties to late seventies. Rick Akers, Craig Carlisle, and Daniel Ferlan are artists who have been a part of the gallery from almost the beginning.
“Sharon and I first met in the summer of 1995 when I was having an exhibit at the old Coffee Table in the Short North,” says Craig Carlisle. “She purchased one of the works. I went to her old gallery on Poplar Street to thank her, and we became instant friends, and have been working together ever since. Sharon Weiss Gallery has been the only gallery I have directly worked with in Columbus (in New York and Los Angeles, I have been formally represented by George Billis Gallery since 2000). Last year, I gratefully had my 17th solo exhibition with Sharon’s gallery.”
In addition to the artists she represents and the community that supports the gallery, Weiss credits her family and friends, as vital parts to the success of her business.
“Roger Pettry, my life partner, has always been so supportive and painted the gallery walls hundreds of times,” she says. Her grown children Jenny and Mark have also offered support, often providing appetizers for the artist receptions hosted in the gallery.
“When I am not able to be in the gallery, my dear friend and art collector David Miller greets customers. I hear from all that he knows and loves art and conveys this when he is in charge,” says Weiss.
Many changes have occurred in the Short North over the twenty years she has been a business owner there, and she feels they are all for the best.
“It is Columbus’ Arts District and one we should be so proud of developing,” she says. “We have wonderful art galleries, fabulous restaurants, divine boutiques, an incredible antique mall, the Hilton Hotel featuring Ohio art, and now an art museum with a new boutique hotel on the way. Parking garages are arriving, so I consider myself very fortunate indeed to be part of such a vibrant community called the Short North!”
Weiss feels there is always room for more art in Columbus and last fall, encouraged Angela Meleca to begin her own gallery, the Angela Meleca Gallery, which opened in September at 144 East State Street Downtown.
“I frequent Sharon’s gallery often because she is so approachable and always enthusiastic to talk about art,” says Meleca. “She’s nurtured and encouraged my interest in art collecting. Sharon has never wavered in her support of me or my gallery. She treats me as a peer. Her advice and encouragement are consistent with the enthusiasm and honesty she has always shown me over the past 10 years as a patron of her gallery.”
Other patrons of the Sharon Weiss Gallery feel the same.
“Sharon’s knowledge of local artists and her advocacy for emerging artists has been invaluable in helping Patrick and me shape our collection of Ohio artists,” says Jeffrey Ayers, longtime collector of art.
“Sharon introduced us to Craig Carlisle, Debra Dawson, Malcom Barroway, Edward Shuttleworth, Rick Akers, David Jewell, Nina Menduni, and other artists she represents,” he says.
“Galleries tend to keep their clients more anonymous and clear from the artists,” says Carlisle. “Sharon on the other hand, does support our ability to directly connect with those who want to share in our creativity, thus being the bridge for that to happen. Whether it’s an art collector or someone just walking in off the street, if we’re in the gallery Sharon will quickly introduce us, giving the artist the stage to talk about their work. She allows the artist to have an invaluable experience communicating directly about their passion.”
Ayers agrees. “Having that interaction has only enhanced our overall experience as collectors,” he says.
“I have the very best job ever,” says Weiss. “I am surrounded by art and have the opportunity to share the artists’ passions and my own.”
In relation to his own collection, Ayers shares a great piece of advice he once received from Weiss. “Buy what you’re attracted to even if you can’t articulate why. Trust that it will fit into your collection and enhance your life.”
Sharon Weiss Gallery is located at 20 East Lincoln Street, Columbus, OH 43215. For Gallery Hop on February 1, 2014, Sharon Weiss Gallery will be exhibiting a Salon Exhibit of Gallery Artists. Visit online at SharonWeissGallery.com.