Stella’s Art Gallery is a working gallery where art is created, displayed, demonstrated, taught and fostered

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Whether it’s a class, workshop, camp or drop-in, Stella’s Art Gallery offers many projects and levels of instruction, for all ages. Mosaic glass art pictured above was created by artist/instructor Lisa Ruschman. (Photography: Benjamin Margalit)

By Patricia Nugent

Pablo Picasso once famously quipped, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”

For Carol Pitts and Dani Klein—the indomitable mother-daughter duo who own Stella’s Art Gallery in downtown Willoughby—growing up has never been a priority.

As artists themselves, their passion lies in spreading the many facets of art throughout the community by running a working gallery where art is created, displayed, demonstrated, taught, and, above all, fostered.

“Everyone should invest in a piece of local art, because it’s unique, created with thought, passion and ability that’s more intense than just making a copy of something,” says Dani. “Our gallery is eclectic, always changing. With each visit, you’ll find affordable, one-of-a-kind artwork for the home or office.”

Stella’s Art Gallery owners Carol Pitts and Dani Klein have hand-built and wheel thrown pottery pieces on display.

Carol and Dani have been immersed in the art world for 14 years and opened the gallery about four years ago. They moved from its former location in Mentor in May, more than doubling its size.

The wide-open space allows them to display more art, add classrooms, and offer a space for artists to meet with their clients privately to arrange for custom work.

Named for Carol’s mother, who was a painter, sculptor and seamstress in New York City—Stella’s includes a variety of local artists and their works, from paintings to pottery, fabrics, scarves, enamel work, photography, repurposed and upcycled art, clocks, jewelry, stained glass, mosaics and sculpture.

You’ll find affordable, one-of-a-kind artwork perfect for gift giving, your home or office. Copper jewelry pictured above was created by Candace Barr.

“We’re thankful for the warm welcome and support we’ve already received from the Willoughby community, fellow business owners, the mayor and patrons of the arts,” says Carol.

Using vinyl records as an inspiration, clock artist Jeff Sivyer can honor your special musical memories.
Adorn yourself in color. Margie Branche uses a technique called nuno felting to create stunning accessories.

Classes for All Levels
Whether it’s a class, workshop, camp or drop-in, the ladies offer many levels of instruction, from toddlers to seniors.

Class size has currently been capped at four students, but they adapted when Covid-19 hit and now offer virtual classes, too. They teach out in the community as well, including special workshops at local wineries.

“Early this fall, we are kicking off Wine Down Wednesdays, where people can pop in for a two-hour workshop and enjoy a glass of wine with it,” says Carol. “We also have more intense instruction, such as pottery classes that run for six weeks.”

Another unique offering is the Thursday Night Live Drawings, which take place outdoors, under a tent in front of the gallery. Led by Diane Fleisch-Hughes, the hour-long program is perfect for beginning to advanced students. Everyone brings a drawing pad and sketches a live model doing a one-minute pose, then five-, 10- and 20-minute poses. The cost is $5.

Diane Fleisch-Hughes’ paintings are hauntingly beautiful. Diane leads Thursday Night Live Drawings outdoors at the gallery.
Dani Klein and Carol Pitts (holding sign) have been immersed in the art world for 14 years and opened Stella’s Art Gallery about four years ago. They moved the gallery in May from its former location in Mentor, more than doubling its size and representing over 40 artists.

Shows, Events and Parties, Oh My!
For birthday parties, showers, bachelorette parties and more, the gallery is the perfect something-different venue.

“Each party varies depending on the art project you select, from festive wine glass painting to canvas work,” says Dani. “People bring their own food, refreshments and decorations. The gallery itself is such a festive backdrop.”

For serious artists, they do a juried show the second Saturday of every month, with a different theme. In September, it’s photography. Artists can enter one piece for $15 and three pieces for $30.

In the end, Dani, who has a degree in Art Therapy, likens her job to helping others feel better.

“I enjoy seeing artists become more successful and connect with people through art,” she says. “And it feels great to see others accomplish things they didn’t imagine they were capable of.”

Stella’s Art Gallery is at 38033 Euclid Avenue, across the street from Wes Point Park, in downtown Willoughby. Gallery hours are Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday, 1 to 6 p.m., and 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. by appointment; Thursday and Friday, 1 to 9 p.m. Parking is available in front of and behind the building. Art is also for sale via an online gallery on the website. Call 440-266-9111 or visit for more information.