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Rivet Celebrates Second Anniversary Tomorrow

Walker Evans Walker Evans
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Exactly two years ago, Columbus saw the opening of it’s first “Designer Toy and Art Gallery” space as Rivet got started up in the Short North. Tomorrow marks the start of their second anniversary celebration and we sat down with owner and curator Laura Kuenzli to talk about the past, present and future of this one-of-a-kind art gallery and toy shop.

Walker) Two years sounds like a short time, but it feels like Rivet has already been around forever. So, how has the ride been so far?

Laura) The ride was almost over before it began. Shortly after I had signed the lease for Rivet’s space, I was diagnosed with cancer. I am thankful that I moved forward with my dream while going through surgery and treatments. I am also very appreciative of my family and friends who helped me through those times. The last two years have been really good. With designer vinyl toys and this style of art being fairly unknown to this area, it was hard to have any specific expectations. Rivet had the chance to exhibit amazing work such as “Yama”, the 500 year old Tibetan Monk skull pinhole camera as well as work with some well known artists in this genre like Chet Zar, Kathie Olivas, Brian M. Viveros and many others.

Walker) Has all of this progress been a part of the original vision for Rivet, or have you been adapting to changes in the neighborhood and local art scene?

Laura) Things have been progressing as planned and at times a little more than expected. With the current economic issues, I have been a little more selective than before in regards to what new products I select for the store. The web store is now finished and is another way to find new patrons. With the new children’s product safety laws taking effect, that has had some effect on the vinyl toy industry but nothing alarming. People have been very kind and supportive with the gallery exhibits and focus, so I continue to strive at bringing in the best of this artistic style.

Walker) It’s probably hard to pick just one, but have you had any show or artist over the past two years that has stood out as a personal favorite?

Laura) The Stuff This plush show has proven to be a hit with patrons and has become an annual event. It is a light-hearted, fun show with a different art medium. Some of my favorite artists to work with have been Doktor A and Andrew Bell.

Walker) Rivet is located toward the northern end of the Short North, and there’s a lot of new development there, both under construction and in the planning phases. Do you think that the new changes are going to have a positive impact on Rivet?

Laura) I believe the changes occurring in the NoShoNo, as I lovingly like to call it, will prove to be for the better. With completion of the residential projects, I feel that it will bring more foot traffic to the established businesses in the immediate area, as well as convince entrepreneurs to open their businesses in the available space.

Walker) So what sort of plans are in the works for Rivet this year? New art shows? New toys? A second location?

Laura) Ha! No current plans for a second location. However, I’d like to eventually expand Rivet to allow the gallery it’s own space apart from the vinyl toys. I am looking to bring in new product lines as well as have exhibits with some sought after artists in the coming year, but that will all be unveiled in due time. I also plan to offer additional trading and painting parties, as well as some seminars and q&a sessions.

Walker) Well, in the more immediate future, can you tell us a bit about what you’ve got planned for the second anniversary celebration?

Laura) Rivet will be having a Scavenger Hunt to celebrate our two-year anniversary. We will begin to distribute the Scavenger List to our Mailing List on June 1. The Scavenger List will also be available in-store as of Tuesday.

Rivet is located at 1200 N. High St. in the Short North. More information can be found on their website RivetArt.com.


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