LeSo Gallery celebrates first year anniversaryWritten by Jay Hathaway | | firstname.lastname@example.org
An East Toledo art gallery is celebrating a successful first year in business.
The LeSo Gallery, 1527 Starr Ave., has featured 10 exhibitions since it opened in 2012, as well as a children’s art workshop.
Gallery director and co-owner Amber LeFever opened LeSo last year with production manager Adam Soboleski. They found a building on Toledo’s East Side that was in need of some renovation, and set up shop.
LeFever said one of the highlights of the first year was being able to work with a variety of talented artists and members of the community.
“We have had some really great artists featured at our shows,” she said. “We feel blessed to have met them.”
Other high points included being recognized by local community and media outlets, as well as by Bowling Green State University, she said. LeFever and Soboleski are both graduates of BGSU’s School of Art.
In June, LeSo launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for a mural project and to fund materials for its workshops. Within the 30-day timeframe, LeSo exceeded its funding goal of $3,500, raising a total of $5,165. After the campaign, local artist Mr. Taylor completed a mural on the exterior of the gallery building.
“Our neighbors absolutely loved watching him paint the mural,” LeFever said. “There were kids watching from across the street and practicing football across the street, and they would stop and watch. It was really exciting, the whole process.”
LeFever said several nearby businesses have sponsored the gallery and its exhibits.
“We’ve gotten tremendous response from the East Side. They’ve been so supportive.”
Although LeSo does not have any local workshops planned yet, LeFever said plenty of activity is in store for its second year.
“We’re really excited because we’re branching out from the Toledo region for some of our upcoming shows. We’re bringing new ideas and artists to our community to share ideas and artwork.”
“Overture II” is currently running at the gallery through Oct. 19. The show is the sequel to LeSo’s original exhibition one year ago. “Overture II” features more than 50 works of 50 artists from across Ohio and as far away as Iowa and New York.
LeSo hosted an opening ceremony for “Overture II” last month, and Mr. Taylor returned, performing a live spray painting of a trailer for local nonprofit Food for Thought.
LeFever, an art teacher, said that kind of neighborhood interaction mutually benefits the gallery and members of the community, adding that there is a critical need for art education.
“Art is an invaluable resource for everyone, especially kids,” LeFever said. “It brings such a creative outlet that I think is really needed. Even if a child or a person is not particularly artistic, the creative process is extremely beneficial for the development of the brain and how kids think. With such a push for critical thinking and thinking outside the box, art really helps that process.”
For more information, visit the web site www.lesogallery.com.