Interview with Gina, Owner of Gina’s Gallery and Boutique

I recently interviewed the owner of Gina’s Gallery and Boutique to learn a little more about her, her inspirations, her boutique and her take on art in Cleveland in general. The Interview is as follows:

1. Tell me a little more about yourself.

I am 27, a native Clevelander, and a 2002 graduate of Case Western Reserve University with a BA in Art History and English. I minored in Art and took several textiles classes. Shortly after graduating I started working at Fiori Gallery and quickly became the manager. In the fall of 2003 I started taking fashion design classes at Kent to fulfill my dream of becoming a designer and my need to create. Shortly thereafter, all the while working at Fiori, I began making hostess aprons and worked with Verb Ballets on costumes. During the spring of 2006, Stuart Zolten, the owner of Fiori Gallery announced his plans to retire. I looked at this as an opportunity to carry on a gallery in the space that sparked the art movement in Little Italy, and also so have a space to show and expand upon my own design endeavors. I also wanted to bring more young independent designers and artists to Cleveland as well as highlight many talented Clevelanders.

2. What might a visitor expect when they first walk through the door of the boutique?
A visitor can expect to be warmly greeted, most likely by me, naturally! Hopefully they will take a moment upon entering to look around and absorb the pops of color from the array of art displayed on the walls and fixtures.

3. Who are some of your favorite designers locally? nationally?

Locally, my favorite clothing designers are Pinky’s Daily Planner and Rocket Love Fashions– both are extremely different and very creative. Nationally, I’m in love with Suzabelle, Lois Eastlund, Gina Michele, and Sans Soucie (Canadian). I also carry Feisty Studio handbags (totally awesome and totally local), Elle-A-Belle jewelry (also local and beautiful). I have a slew of indie designers coming in every day and I am in awe of all of them (and I mean truly independent. Designers like me who are producing a handful of limited edition or one of a kind pieces– nothing mass produced. )

4. You yourself are a designer and are having a debut of a new collection aren’t you? Can you tell me a little bit more about this new collection and what inspires your creation in general?

My debut collection is now available in the store and you can see it at I am inspired by color, funky prints, and anything with a sense of humor. My hostess aprons are either one of a kind or a variation of a certain design. They are all fun and flirty, and even a little sexy.

5. What are some of your other favorite locations in Little Italy?

My other favorite locations include Anthony’s (best gelato in the city), La Dolce Vita (fettucine fellini is divine), Algebra Tea House (pleasant company and work place of Abe Olvido, an artist I feature in the gallery and soon to be international phenom), Anne Van H. boutique (an inspiration), and Xen Gift Gallery (Skjenia makes all the jewelry she shows.)

6. Do you believe that the arts are vital and important to Cleveland, and if so, why?

Yes, I believe that the arts are vital and important to Cleveland. Cleveland has a rich cultural history, with the Cleveland Orchestra and Cleveland Museum of Art at its hub. Both CIA and CIM produce amazing artists and Kent State is not far away.

7. What types of things would you like to see in the Cleveland art scene?

I would like to see more support of local artists and galleries by Clevelanders. While many people shop independent, there is a whole segment of the population who does not. Whether they think it is too expensive, too out-of-the-way, or find small galleries and boutiques intimidating, I encourage every person to just browse. Most places have an assortment of merchandise at varying price points– literally something for everyone. And, isn’t it more fun and special to buy something that only you will have rather than a million people will have?

8. Lastly, what are some of your other interests?

My other interests… I haven’t had time to even think about other things since opening in August. I’m very lucky to be able to work in an environment where everyday I am surrounded by beautiful things.

Thanks Gina for your interview! If anyone wants to know more I encourage you to visit Gina’s Gallery and Boutique. It is located in Little Italy @ 2072 Murray Hill


“Legendary” Cleveland Jazz Event

It’s almost time for the Tri-C JazzFest. Tri-C has traditionally thrown an excellent festival for many years now and this year is no exception. In fact this is the 28th year of the festival! The festival kick off will happen this year on April 19th with a free parade on public square and a kick-off party. Other events include “an Evening with Tony Bennett” at Playhouse Square, Chriss Botti at the Allen Theater, A Thelonius Monk Tribute Band, Jazz for Kids with the Passport Project at the Cleveland Children’s Museum and a a plethora of other performances, workshops, and events. Visit for the complete schedule or to order tickets. Note as well that several of the events are entirely free, while others there may be a cost for.

“Eat your Art Out” for a good cause

Art House is a non profit arts center located between Ohio city and Brooklyn center in Cleveland. The Center was actually founded by local artists and residents almost a decade ago. Art House provided educational outreach programs, in-house arts classes for both children and adults, professional development for artists and educators, and even corporate services.

If you’d like to support this great organization all you have to do is have a great dinner. Dine on Wednesday April 18th @ The South Side in Tremont and the South Side will donate 20% of your check to Art House ( You need to visit the Art House site to print out the “EAt your Art out flyer” to present to your server however!) Get your flyer at the Art House Site at

View the South Side’s site for their menu and more info at

A Tasteful Affair to benefit our “Arts in Auto-aviation”

I suppose you may be now asking…automobiles and airplanes  as art? If you ask my husband, cars can most certainly in fact, be art.  I think they may even be his favorite kind of art.  If you only knew the amount of time I have spent in a car museum, the whistles I have heard out of him at times driving down the road, or that on our honeymoon half the photos we took were of cars!

In Cleveland, we actually have a museum that is one of the best in the country when it comes to showcasing automobiles (and for that matter a few airplanes as well) .  The Crawford Museum has over 200 vehicles, including classic, vintage and antique cars, many of which even have a direct history with Cleveland.  I must agree with my husband that some of these cars are truly gorgeous artworks, and some fine examples of design.  It’s not surprising that Car Collector named the museum one of the top ten collections in the United States–it’s quite a large collection!

That being said,  my whole point with writing this was to inform you about Scene Magazines 5th Annual Tasteful Affair, in which a portion of the proceeds benefit the Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum.  The event takes place on Thursday May 17th from 7pm-10pm.  Over 20 area restaurants will be participating, and drinks are complimentary.  Tickets are $30 in advance or $40 at the door.  I’d recommend getting there early since in the past food vendors have not always been so prepared for the large crowds and have run out of food before the event was early.  Currently at this time the restaurants participating have not been announced.  Hopefully this year the quality of restaurants will have a bit of resurgence, since last years were not as top notch as in prior years.

Unfortunately however, due to the Diana exhibit I believe, the event is not being held at the Crawford Museum this year but is instead  being held at Windows on the River.  This bit of information was disappointing to my husband, whose sole reason for going every year has been to get to go wander around looking at the cars, beer and food in hand.

Regardless, for $30 you still get an awful lot for your money, and are providing funding for the Crawford, which is definitely a good thing!

Help unify the Superior Arts District by partying!

The RED DOT project, City Artists at Work, and Zygote Press are throwing a party.  The party, Banner-Rama is a benefit to raise funds for pole banners to unify the district.  Enjoy food from Tastebuds and Li Wah, listen to the sounds of Frase and Friends.  There will also be an auction, raffle and artwork by Phyllis Selzer.  Tickets are $50 in advance and $55 at the door.  Personally, I think this collaborative idea sounds great.  You may think that banners seem like a silly thing to put money towards–but that visual presence helps to strengthen and make our arts communities more identifiable.

To purchase tickets in advance, contact Christy at Red Dot Project, 1900 Superior Ave, Suite # 125, Cleveland Ohio 44114, 216. 664.9600,

Interested in Cuyahoga Arts and Culture? (CAC)

Want to learn more about Cuyahoga Arts and Culture?  Then rsvp to attend the next meeting of the Arts and Cultural Roundtable.  You Will have the opportunity to learn more about the new CAC executive Director, Cathy Boyle, as well as the three new trustees, Steven Minter, Santina Protopapa, and David Bergholz.  If you are interested in what is happening with proceeds from the passage of issue 18, you’ll especially want to attend as it will be discussed how CAC’s programs relate to the issue 18 proceeds.

The meeting is scheduled for March 30th @ 8:30 am at Burke Lakefront Airport.

You need to RSVP however to Beth Kappa at or 216-575-0331 if you plan to attend.

(Information from the Community Partnership for Arts and Culture mailing list.  Please contact them if you need more info, I’m just spreading the news)

A fresh Spring Necklace

I don’t usually post my own jewelry, but I’m really proud of this piece and am mesmerized by the gorgeous blue colors in the Amazonite stones. So here’s my “Gulf Stream Necklace” more items can be found at




2007 Blossom Music Festival

Classical music lovers take note! The 2007 Blossom Music Festival schedule has been announced. As usual, the Cleveland Orchestra will be performing a good variety of quality selections. There will be the usual 4th of July weekend kick off of Sousa marches, American classics and of course the 1812 overture. This year however there is the added bonus of special guests from the United States Military Academy, The West Point Hellcats Drum and Bugle Corps. Fans of The Lord of the Rings series will be thrilled to find out that The Lord of The Rings symphony will be performed along with projections of original illustrations and storyboards by the artists. From past experience I can almost guarantee you to get there very early the day of the performance to find a good spot, as the “special events” such as this are generally packed! Theater buffs note that selections from Geroge and Ira Gershwin are included in the program this year as well as Broadway hits from shows such as Hello Dolly, Chicago and Gypsy, and the music of Rodgers and Hammerstein will also be featured. Of course there is also the long list of selections by classical composers such as Debussy, Wagner, Beethoven, Brahms,Mozart and moreView Schedule

I love that every year you can buy a book of lawn ticket seats for $120. Each year my husband and I buy a book and see five shows each. There’s nothing more relaxing than having a picnic on the lawn, kicking back and enjoying the music and weather.
I definitely recommend checking out the ticket package and considering it! Ticket Info

My latest site addiction…

I’ve been all about this site called The Switchboards recently. It was created by women in the indie business so they could connect, converse and share ideas and information. Since then it has grown to be HUGE! The community of members is gigantic, and the forum has literally thousands of well organized posts on topics including the inside scoop on craft shows and events, business advice on anything from money matters to legal issues, web-site critiques, and even a place for artists to barter! The amount of information may seem daunting at first but the members of the forum truly are so incredibly helpful to one another and there is such a wealth of valuable information. If you are a designer or indie artist of any kind I simply cannot emphasize enough how much you should go visit this site!

Visit at

Call for all mother-artists!

Call for artists: Moms who are artists are wanted for an exhibit opening at TRUE ART on Sat. May 5th (cinco de mayo) This is a theme oriented show so please email for more info or call the gallery at 216-383-0230.
rsvp by March 31st.