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My first exposure to the art business came when I was in second grade. My father was the president of the PTA and my mom was a member of a committee of women known as “The Library Ladies,” whose passion was to somehow raise enough money to fund a library for my elementary school. This passion caused my parents to stumble upon an art company from Chicago that was willing to travel eight hours to Ohio, set up shop for the weekend, and give a portion of their sales to the school. The PTA agreed to support the project and in 1968, Melridge Elementary School in Painesville, Ohio was transformed into an art collector’s paradise, hosting a show of many of the leading artists of the time: Norman Rockwell, Salvador Dali, Alexander Calder and Victor Vasarely.
The show was a huge success and instantly became an annual event. The ladies got their library (though I wasn’t allowed to visit it because I was on school restriction for fighting on the bus), but my understanding was that many of the kids benefited from it tremendously.
In 1974 when I was 13, my parents started their own art gallery outside of Cleveland, Ohio. On weekends and after school I would spend time at the store taking care of customers and learning the ropes of the business. Eventually, I attended Ohio State University and in 1983, joined the family art business in a full-time capacity.
Since that day in 1983, I’ve spent each and every day talking with the world’s greatest artists, their publishers, their dealers and most importantly collectors. I learned about each of their concerns… why an artist chose to paint a certain way, how the publishers painstakingly decided what images were print-worthy, how dealers battled continuously with publishers for sold-out product to fill their customers orders, and the collectors’ importance to the entire process. But, most importantly, I’ve learned to always be honest with my customers and work as hard as anyone possibly can for them. I’ve also learned to always do my best to provide them with impeccable service, selection and price. And proudly that’s why I believe ArtUSA continues year after year to be the best art gallery in the nation.
I am always available to you. Should you wish to talk with me via phone give me a call toll-free at 1-877-444-0777 or email me directly at [email protected]. The only request that I have of you is to please just call me “Jay.”