And the art goes on

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Although The Art Gallery has moved to a new location, serving as a leading source for original works, fine gifts and custom framing is a tradition that endures. (Photography by Benjamin Margalit/Margalit Studio)

By Mary Malik

In today’s world of mass production, it’s nice to find a place where artistry and one-of-a-kind creations are not only offered, but also celebrated. The Art Gallery has been in the business of showcasing local artists and their original work, including paintings, jewelry and glasswork. Unique gift items, custom framing and a bead shop are just a few more of the offerings found at this creative oasis in Willoughby.

“My husband and I bought the gallery just over 20 years ago from the original owner, Dan Struna,” says George Ann Trembour.

“I have a BA in fine arts, a master’s degree in art education and taught art for 36 years in the public school system. We were always interested in owning a gallery of our own.”

The tradition of The Art Gallery under George Ann’s leadership hasn’t changed, but its location has. A grand re-opening celebration will be held on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, November 17, 18 and 19, at the gallery’s new location, at 38721 Mentor Avenue.

“It all starts with a ribbon cutting on Friday evening, November 17, followed by raffles for special items, refreshments, music and, of course, art at every turn all weekend long,” says George Ann. Specials and daily drawings will continue for the entire week.

And George Ann wants you to know that one-of-a-kind art doesn’t necessarily mean one-of-a-kind prices.

“Original doesn’t mean expensive,” says George Ann. “We have lots of handmade jewelry and glassware for under $20, which make the perfect birthday or holiday hostess gifts.”

And even though The Art Gallery has changed locations a few times over the years, customers have remained loyal.

“People are always finding something new, that’s why they keep coming in,” says George Ann.

“We are retail, but we are also a gallery and, as such, we are constantly changing the displays. If the artist doesn’t appeal to your taste today, come back and you’ll see something different from another local artist next time.”

One customer came into The Art Gallery 18 years ago and hasn’t left.

“I took a beading class that was offered here and became friends with George Ann and her husband,” says Carolyn Kissel.

“I’m not sure how it happened, but we responded to people’s interest in beading at the time and opened a bead shop within the gallery. Next thing I knew I was the Beaded Lady of Willoughby.”

The Art Gallery continues to offer beading classes along with watercolor and drawing classes, painting on glass, courses for the serious artist and more introductory lessons for beginners.

“We also have paint and sip, and bead and sip classes that are fun for an evening out with friends,” says George Ann. “You can explore your creative side in a relaxed environment and then take your new creation home with you.”

Courses at The Art Gallery are taught by local artists and are a non-intimidating way to tap into a passion you may not have known existed.

“It’s amazing what people can discover about themselves when they wander through a gallery,” says George Ann.

“You see the way people express themselves through painting on a canvas, of course, but also through jewelry design, woodworking, sewing and even metalwork. There are so many avenues of creativity represented here. People are always surprised and delighted.”

Another way The Art Gallery celebrates art and creativity is with its custom framing department.

“We have an extensive framing area with hundreds of frame styles and options for customers to look through, along with samples hung throughout the gallery,” says George Ann.

“Frames are often artwork all on their own. Built with archival materials only, they can make a piece even more unique and special.”

The Art Gallery also cleans and repairs both frames and canvases. If you find a special item at an antique store or flea market, or have a family heirloom you’ve been meaning to update with a new frame, bring it in and let The Art Gallery experts help bring new life to an old piece.

“We don’t overprice our frames like big box stores, just to be able to give discounts. Our framing is always reasonably priced and reflects the cost of materials and the expertise of on-site construction,” says George Ann.

“We work closely with you to plan your project and do it all right here, start to finish.”

Whether you’re looking to frame something special, or need a last-minute holiday gift, why not make it unique, and maybe even original? The Art Gallery has rooms full of items in every price range.

The Art Gallery is located at 38721 Mentor Avenue, in Willoughby. Non-holiday hours are 11 a.m. through 5 p.m. daily except Sunday and Monday, or by appointment. For the holiday season, the gallery will open earlier in the morning and stay later into the evening. For more information, call 440-946-8001 or visit