Thursday, February 28, 2008

Waldo's On High: First Hair Salon/ Art Gallery

In the Fall of 1985, shortly after Spangler Cummings Gallery started the well attended monthly Gallery Hops, a new form of art gallery opened up. Waldo's On High began in the corner space at Buttles and High St. where The Coffee Table formerly occupied. Replacing Dixon TV service (one of 3 TV service businesses in the Short North at the time) Waldo's was quite a surprise to the Short North. It was joined within a year by two other Hair Salon/ Art Galleries (Avant Garde and Doo Wac), but the concept was new in 1985. Above are two of the owners: Johanna Teschner-Breithart and Bill Teschner-Breithart on either side of artist Helen T. Hall.
Waldo's was first noticed for its sculpture in the windows. This space at Buttles and High has lots of windows.
During the May, 1986 Gallery Hop Waldo's started the first of its annual "Wearable Art Shows" where artsy clothes were encouraged and sold. At the same time, wild 80's hairdos were created as you watched. It was quite a crowded event. The Buttles & High space was also remembered for its manicurist on duty, a feature, along with the Wearable Art Show, faded when Waldo's moved a few doors north to its current space. However, the monthly art shows continued in the new space through 3 ownerships until just recently
Here is Johanna and artist Helen T. Hall again showing what a great space the first Waldo's had for an art gallery once the barber chairs were moved to the side.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The 1985 Gallery Hops

The gallery hop crowd spread up and down the street, but not too far. The truck with its lights on is the WBNS-TV video van, a Chevy Suburban with a tall roof rack. This is taken in from to Casa Isabella, an upscale furniture store, looking north to the Carriage Place building. The other side of the street hadn't been touched.
Ritchey's at 714 was a collectables shop on the corner of Lincoln and High. There was a time when a cigar store Indian graced the front. Hand Motion, a T-shirt shop, had moved next to it from around the corner making way for the Benjamin Marcus Gallerie in 1986
The Spangler Cummings Gallery was the largest Short North gallery. One side of the gallery could hold an dance performance at various times during the hop. Spangler featured large paintings and modern sculpture from most local and regional artists.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Tranformation of the Joyce Building

The building on the Southeastern corner of Russell and High St. is called the JOYCE Building. Entering the 1980's it was home to Woody's Furniture. Woody's was one of the best collectable furniture stores in a Short North full of used furniture shops.
In 1984 the building across Russell from the Joyce Building was renovated and a artistic fashion show took place called INNOVATIONS. This show organized by Lian Calvo and artist Iris Sandkuhler brought the first heavily attended art event to the Short North, so much so it spilled out onto the street. INNOVATIONS had to find another space after Functional Furnishings bought the entire Yukon Building and kicked ARTreach and the other shops out. ARTreach and Unicef appeared several months later in the Lincoln Ave. shops that Wood Development renovated. Woody's Furniture, as seen above,was nearing the end of its long run. The gallery district as we know it now was materializing.
After the beginnings of the monthly Gallery Hops in 1985 the JOYCE Building was renovated with modern 1 and 2 bedroom apartments upstairs and modern storefronts below. The corner shop that Woody's occupied was still vacant at first. Avant Garde Hair Salon (where MAX the Salon is now) and Jazz Columbus (rear storefront off Russell) moved in by the Spring of 1986. Avant Garde immediately started showing regular monthly art shows joining Waldo's on High.
In late 1986 Art Investments opened up in the corner shop. This was the original name for the Riley Hawk Gallery. The Hawks brought studio glass art to the Short North in a big way. The glass art part of Riley Hawk has moved to Main Street downtown as the Hawk Gallery. Riley continued on in this space with large sculpture and art, but it has been replaced by the Kathryn Gallery more recently. Sherrie Hawk returned to the Short North with her Sherrie Gallerie in recent years.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Carriage Place: Early 80's

This is a shot of the Short North when the Bollinger Tower was being constructed (1982-83). It replaced the New Francis Apartments. As you can see from the detail below, (click on image to blow-up) The Body Shop still had a Chevy logo on its side, Ritchey's at 714 hadn't moved in yet (but Lincoln TV had moved across the street), the Carriage Place building where Rigsby's is today was a rough collection of storefronts with Christy's Market selling a few groceries, and the Old Time Religion Hall anchored Lincoln & High St.

On down the street the building at Russell and High St. had been renovated with apartments above. The storefront was still empty. The Short North Tavern had opened just to the north of this building (building with a center peak).

Sunday, February 24, 2008

The First Attempt at a Gallery Hop

click on poster to view larger
In May, 1980 a bunch of poets decided to declare the part of High Street south of Buttle Avenue "SoButt" and put on a walking tour of various artsy businesses. Someone dressed up as Tom Wolfe and this poster was mailed out. PM Gallery had just started their business and weren't listed, but then Apple Gallery didn't seem to exist much beyond this event. As you can see, most of the businesses sited had been there for years from the gritty High Street of the past. The Walking Tour didn't prove this would be the art district of today, but it was a start. The area was known as the Near North, before The Short North Tavern opened and used the police term "the Short North". The term "SoButt" was to give it a New York flair, as in SoHo that stands for South of Houston St. in NYC.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Summer 1985- to -Summer 1986

(above:) September, 1985 art shops

(above:) November, 1985
(above:) April, 1986
(above:) Summer, 1986

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Comfest Stage June, 1985

The Community Festival moved to the Short North in the early 1980's from its off-campus 16th Avenue site. It survived many years in the empty lot where Victorian Gate Apartments are now. (Russell and High St.) Comfest had only one stage with vendor tents along Park St. Seating was on a semi-grassy field with rocks and chunks of concrete from the former White Cross Hospital that occupied the site years earlier. As you can see from these pictures of the local band Dark Arts (with Sue Ann Mason lead singer) the buildings in the background were mostly empty and bombed-out. Boy are those days gone.

Short North in the early 80's

In the early 1980's rent was cheap and storefronts often times were vacant in the Short North. The above pictures illustrates the possibilities the created. Across from the Goody Boy at Fourth and High St. was this shop a circus performer took over for a while. This shop became The Geoffery Taber Gallery in the Fall of 1986 which turned into ACME Art Co. in January, 1989 after these building burned down in September, 1988. The storefront on the right says "Show Cases" in the window but was never more than storage space with an abandon apartment above. On the left Biashara had not yet moved in, a popular collectables shop in the late 1980's. This spot has been an empty field for almost 20 years and will soon become "The Jackson" luxury condo tower.

This is how the Garden Theatre looked when it was a burlesque theater with practical shops surrounding it. You can see Pick-A-Pair shoes, a law office, and other businesses for low income shopper.
This is the Yukon Building when it was a one building art district. Functional Furnishings had not yet bought the entire building (moving everyone else out). ARTreach non-profit gallery was the center of art activity, it is second to the UNICEF store on the far right. Both of these businesses moved to the Lincoln Avenue shops in late 1984 beginning the group openings on the first Saturday of each month. A Victorian Village General Store can be seen here and other shops like Off-The-Wall Gallery occupied the building but didn't continue in business. Beyond this building, there was the PM Gallery and the two popular watering holes of Mellman's Corner (site of today's Greek church) and the Short North Tavern (but not were it is today). Linda Apple had the first art space at 689 N. High, but Apple Gallery didn't last far into the 1980's.
Above: this is ARTreach Gallery after it moved to Lincoln Avenue in 1984. It constituted two small storefronts in a modern, clean renovation, the direct opposite of its Yukon Building surroundings from before. To the right is Hand Motion and off farther to the right would have been UNICEF, a kind of card and stamp shop for the UN charity.
This is the corner of Russell and High St. Today, the bar East Village occupies the far right space. Next to that (out of the picture) was a plasma donor business that was torn down for a parking lot. The Short North was mostly furniture businesses at the time, both new and used. In its hey day in the 1950's it was known for car dealers and spaghetti restaurants. The storefronts grew up at the street car stops.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008


If you wondered where the places are that this blog talks about go to this link:

The people at outside in seem to have a lot of time on their hands
and post a map of businesses highstreetart talks about.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

February Gallery Hop: nice weather/small crowd

The February Gallery Hop saw great weather for winter, but the crowd was light. The few remaining galleries, however, were often packed with people. The boutiques were less busy and some were closed.

The former Coffee Table (above) has been gutted along with the adjacent storefront to form what is sure to become the area's next big restaurant site. Milk Bar is not a bar but rather a new clothing store featuring independent hip designers from across the country. They are holding DJ-ed opening during gallery hop with I-pods around the shop for those who like other music. A painter was working on a painting , people were mingling, and everyone felt chronically hip.

Across the street RIVET Gallery was jammed with artists and friends for the opening of "Art from the Heartland" a show of two dozen local illustrators. Both shows are starting to turn Fifth and High Street into a fashionable center for the young and creative.

Artist Thia Bella was showing her paintings and painted baby dolls at Haircolorexperts, another hair salon/ art gallery. You were asked to come in and spin a wheel to see what kind of coupon you would get for your next hair cut. Or, you could just view the art.

RoyGBiv and Mahan Gallery seem to be drawing from the same group of artists who don't fully finish their paintings. RyGBiv had sculpture filling the middle of the gallery, and relief sculpture on the wall, both with the same minimalist approach. The central sculptures were so tiny that the custom wooden pedestals seemed to be the bulk of the pieces. These tiny sculptures were welded together metal pieces and rubber grommets.

Melissa Vogely Woods show at Ohio Art League was well attended and provided an audience activity of an urban quilt one can sew on. "Sunbonnet Sue in Trouble" was a show of gossamer quilts featuring a mushroom character who sports shopping carts, guns, etc. Melissa did a wall painting that seemd to show the slaughtering of buffalo type creatures.