By Nicole Hennessy
Cityscapes, business card holders and clocks composed of old computer parts lie on a table in JoAnn DePolo’s recently opened studio. Microchips and gears, portions of memory and random springs form skyscrapers and bridges. And the hands on the clocks keep track of minutes.
“Restored,” she calls this collection, made up of “what was once thrown away or pushed aside.”
Since DePolo’s official opening in June, she has tried to be as visible as possible, lining the outside of her storefront with painters on nice days and talking to the passersby happy to have stumbled upon the artists during routine trips to the nearby BMV or discount store.
She also accepted an appointment to North Olmsted’s Arts Commission this summer and has begun displaying student artwork in City Hall.
Her space, which includes two galleries, isn’t located in a trendy arts district or a creaky warehouse, but rather in a plaza on the Brookpark Extension – an unexpected place for an artist to work, but in some ways, a location consistent with her business philosophy, which is detailed in a self-published book called “Making It As an Artist.”
Overall “it’s a great time to be an artist,” DePolo said, excited to continue drawing attention to her gallery and the emerging artists who are renting space there and changing people’s minds about where art can be found.
Preparing for the November opening of “Restored,” the remnants of a morning painting class remain scattered throughout her portion of the gallery covered in years’ worth of abstracts and photorealistic pieces depicting beaches or the French Riviera, and just one computer sculpture sitting on a shelf toward the back.
Originally created in 2004, the pieces in the “Restored” collection gained some attention, but “I don’t think people were ready for it,” DePolo said.
“I think we didn’t understand the extent of computers and the unsustainability that they have,” she continued, pointing out some of her sculpture’s features, like a music box that actually plays. “I think people appreciate that now (and) we can turn this into art instead of just throwing it back into the heap.”
In addition to the computer sculptures, the upcoming exhibit will also feature DePolo’s paintings along with original art including jewelry and painted glassware, as well as paintings and photography by studio artists and students.
“Every computer you open is different,” she said, digging through a box of, so far, unused parts. “I just like to have fun with it.”
SIDE BAR: The opening reception for “Restored” will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. on Nov. 16 at JoAnn DePolo Studios & Gallery, 26719 Brookpark Extension, North Olmsted, OH 44070. The exhibit runs through Dec. 14. This event is free and open to the public.