artist quits her day job to open art gallery in 5th street arcades

Cleveland artist Jessica Newell recently quit her job teaching Psychology at Cleveland State University to open a gallery in the 5th Street Arcades. Jessica's Gallery, as it's called, functions as a studio, a gallery for the artist's work and a showcase for rotating local artists.

"I love to paint," Newell explains. "I began receiving a lot of commissions from friends and family, and pretty soon I began to realize, 'I can make a business out of this.' I inquired about a place in the 5th Street Arcades and discovered that there was retail space available. With its walkable traffic, I figured I'd make a go of it."

Newell opened two months ago, and she says she's been thrilled with the traffic so far. Downtown apartment dwellers and condo owners are a great market for unique, local artwork, she says. She enjoys painting in her studio during the weekday lunch hour, because that draws customers to come in and look around.

Newell's paintings feature abstract representations of the Cleveland Metroparks and images of the city that "capture what the city could be." Currently, Jessica's Gallery also features the work of local landscape artist Michael Greenwald.

"It's amazing how this place has turned around," she says of the 5th Street Arcades, which are nearly 100 percent leased now. "Between Small Business Saturday and Winterfest, an incredible amount of people came in. It was packed."

Newell has also completed several murals around town, most recently for Piccadilly's Artisan Yogurt on Lorain Avenue in Ohio City, which just opened.

Source: Jessica Newell
Writer: Lee Chilcote
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