RampArts Gallery has been at 78th Street Studios for a little more than a year now. Exactly when and where did you start, and where exactly is the new space into which you’ve moving?
Ramparts Gallery, founded by artists Randy Maxin and Mark Yasenchack, opened with its inaugural exhibit in March 2018 in Suite 204 at 78th Street Studios. We very quickly (and conspicuously!) outgrew our attractive and tiny gallery space. With weeks of planning and restructuring, RampArts Gallery reopens Friday, June 21 in spacious Suite 202, the former site of Kokoon Arts Gallery, directly across the hall from our original space, Suite 204. RampArts Gallery is located just outside of HEDGE Gallery.
What prompted the move?
RampArts Gallery’s original, tiny two-room exhibition space, barely more than 400 square feet, drew an enthusiastic crowd from the start. Many exhibitions found the space jammed with visitors standing shoulder to shoulder, hip to pedestal, back to wall — NOT an optimal environment to actually view and contemplate the works of art on exhibit! From the start, we had our eyes on Suite 204, which was serving as the executive office for CAN and CAN Journal at the time. Our successful run in Suite 204 and our well-engineered restructuring and move to Suite 202 would not have been possible without the generous support of 78th Street Studios owner, Dan Bush, personal friend and vocal proponent of our gallery.
RampArts Gallery continues to present the broadest possible collection of works in sculpture, metalworking, glass-craft, jewelry, pottery, photography, painting, mosaic and more from a broad roster of Cleveland-area artists as well as handcrafted goods, accessories and furniture created by very talented makers.
What other changes or additions are will accompany the move and how will they add to the RampArts experience?
Opening any small business is a daunting task, and running it successfully demands a flexible yet clearly focused point of view. Because of the overwhelming response to our unique take on what an “art gallery” should look and feel like, and the demand to offer an ever expanding lineup of artists’ and makers’ works in a much larger physical space as well as in an emerging online gallery, Mark and I quickly identified the need to add collaborators and to share ownership. Rick Roscoe, City of Cleveland 311 Manager and my husband, was already a priceless asset to the gallery, sharing his expertise in process engineering and corporate management. Husband-and-wife team Jeff Balazs and Julie Verdon, longtime friends, cement the new partnership with Jeff’s do-it-all prowess in digital photography, design and layout, as well as carpentry and construction. Julie is a renowned and successful retail space designer, manager and developer who travels the country and beyond getting her firm’s boutiques and new specialty stops off the ground and up and running.
Which artists will be featured at the grand opening celebration?
Participating artists in RampArts Gallery’s Grand ReOpening Celebration Exhibit include: Mark Yasenchack, ceramics; Randy Maxin, abstract paintings; Jeff Balazs, leather goods; Rick Roscoe, fine greeting cards; Michael High, sculpture; Lainard Bush, abstract paintings; Cathryn Kapp, paintings; Victor Sergent, fine furniture; Stephen Calhoun, digital photography; Christine Ries, painting; Alexander Haines, jewelry; Lynne Norwood Lofton, ceramics; Natalie Rich, jewelry; Ron Copeland, mixed media; Terry Klausman, pencil drawings, mixed media; Earl James, glass; Nancy Luken, found objects/mixed media; Nicki DeMarco Lanzi, watercolors; Lizzie Arnhalt, paintings; Gina Washington, photography; Marcus Shafer, woodworking; Laurie Reydman, jewelry; Qandle Qadir, jewelry; Nathan Gwirtz, ceramics.
Your grand opening celebration takes place during 78th Street Studios’ monthly Third Friday art walk. It’s an immensely popular event — how would you describe being part of it as a gallery owner?
Mark Yasenchack already knows the joys and challenges of pulling off a venerable, and renowned Cleveland arts festival, as the leader and producer of the huge, annual ArtCraft Studio Show, radiating from Mark’ sixth floor studio, inside the ArtCraft Building, and taking over the other seven floors of the building located at 2570 Superior Ave., for the first weekend of every December. As a once longtime studio mate of Mark’s, I can tell you that planning, producing and pulling off such a high-quality and engaging two-day arts festival every year is an epic feat. That Dan Bush, owner of 78th Street Studios, helms the Cleveland area’s definitive arts and patron gathering, hand curating the building’s offerings of studios and galleries, constantly surprising, challenging and pleasing thousands of enthusiastic visitors month after month is awe-inspiring.
If RampArts Gallery succeeds in doing anything — presenting an eclectic mix of high-quality works of art crafted by authentic, well-known and emerging artists, all while enjoying the distinct privilege of presenting our vision under the roof of 78th Street Studios, it will truly be like hitting the jackpot twice.
Lead image courtesy of RampArts Gallery.