Bozarts exhibit focuses on owner’s workWritten by Shaul Storey | | email@example.com
With so much happening in Toledo’s thriving art scene, fueled by locally owned art supply stores like the Art Supply Depo on St. Clair Street, there is a buzz in the air.
Most of the eccentric community that anchors Downtown converges on the side street bars, where creative energies are flowing. There is a strong cord that connects those T-Town Love T-shirts to Artomatic419!, Art Corner Toledo and the Supply Depo; it all echoes this simultaneous craving for freedom, expression and art. An artist told me once that to rebuild a city you must first restore and invest in art, because it will give birth to culture, and from culture comes a society.
When you visit Downtown and experience Downtown Latté to 20 North Gallery, it is hard not to feel the inspiration emanating from the endless paint strokes of art scattered throughout the area. This young, condensed, art-soaked atmosphere is what struck me immediately when I stepped off the train that brought me here from Chicago last fall. Jerry Gray, Toledo’s version of William Ivins, is a sharp-eyed curator who has been a staple in Toledo’s art scene since opening Bozarts Fine Art & Music Gallery in July of 2009. His own show, “Gray Gold,” opens at 6 p.m. Oct. 21.
Shaul Storey: In your third year promoting shows, hosting events and making a name for yourself as a curator, what’s the biggest difference between showing your own art as opposed to showing others’ art?
Jerry Gray: The biggest difference would be in the fact that I actually curate my personal exhibitions. When I work with other artists, I invite them into Bozarts as a peer and allow them full reign over what they want to display and how they want to install their work. Bozarts is an opportunity for local artists to create an environment for their work to be experienced, giving them control to transform and dictate the atmosphere. This approach, I believe, prevents Bozarts from becoming sterile and keeps things interesting.
Storey: When were you bitten by the art bug?
Gray: My grandfather owned one of the only art supply stores in the city for a long time, from the late ’60s until it closed in 2002. This is when I encountered a lot of new ideas, fresh images and materials. This store was key in developing my aptitude and appreciation for the arts.
Storey: Since I moved from Chicago to Toledo in the fall of 2010, Bozarts has presented itself as a dominant part of Toledo’s culture. What changes have you seen in the art community since Bozarts’ first art showing back in July ’09?
Gray: It’s hard to answer this question without it sounding like I’m saying Bozarts is a reason for these changes. But I do think the main changes I’ve seen in the arts community over the last few years have come from individuals taking the reins on their own and filling voids they witness in their community. I am very proud of being able to include myself in this group but it consists of dozens of people doing a multitude of work toward their passions.
Storey: Who are your top five visual artists in Toledo?
Gray: Yusuf Lateef, Jason Vahle, Devicious.com, Anthony McCarty and everyone with T-Town love shirts.
Storey: What’s your favorite cereal?
Gray: Fruity Pebbles.
Storey: Brunette or blonde?
Storey: Rap or hip-hop?
Gray: I like either that is fun, intelligent, wordsmithing and of course has a beat I can dance or groove to.
Storey: When will people get a chance to check out your show?
Gray: I’m showing my own work at Bozarts Fine Art & Music Gallery, 151 S. St. Clair St., on Oct. 21. Gray Gold” features a collection of new works along with a peppering of some older pieces I believe are relevant with the exhibition.