Dani Fuller’s Downtown Sylvania Transformation

. March 27, 2018.
The new gallery’s name speaks to Dani Fuller’s  philosophy: “it’s not just my last name, it’s an expression of being more.”
The new gallery’s name speaks to Dani Fuller’s philosophy: “it’s not just my last name, it’s an expression of being more.”

Over the past five years, Dani Fuller has progressed through the following roles, artist, creative art director, gallery director, and now, the gallery owner of Fuller Art House. Fuller’s artistic transformation came with a push.

Moving into the Centre

In 2013, Fuller moved from Chicago to take on the role of Creative Director for Sylvania’s River Center Foundation, an organization that raises money for eating disorder awareness and advocacy. While she was working as an artist to benefit and bring awareness to the Foundation, River Centre founder and director Dr. David M. Garner approached Fuller with the idea that the Foundation would buy the then recently closed American Gallery and Fuller would serve as the director and curator.

“My initial reaction was, ‘Oh no. Are you crazy?’” laughs Fuller. “I think, selfishly, I am a person that really loves to make art and I knew I would be taking on a lot more than just the role of an artist. I would be a salesperson, a business owner – wear a lot of different hats I have never worn before, hats I never would have tried on, and probably (hats I) would have never even looked at.”

At first, Fuller recalls, she gave a very stubborn “No”, but with encouragement, and a promise to move the gallery from Saxon Square on Sylvania Avenue near McCord Rd. to downtown Sylvania, she agreed: “Moving to downtown Sylvania was crucial. I wanted the gallery to have a bigger role in the community.”

A Fuller role

Fuller looks back at that initial push fondly: “I had not done much curatorial work prior to being involved with the Foundation. My life in the past four years has gone in a direction I would have never expected… but I really fell into it. I came into my own and discovered how the role could work for me— I could grow as an artist, as a creative person, and also as a community member.”

Since River Centre Gallery opened in October 2015, Fuller has partnered, first with the Gallery’s neighbor, Hudson Gallery, and then others, to form the Red Bird Arts District, launching downtown Sylvania’s popular First Fridays.

In addition to First Fridays, Fuller has hosted art classes in the gallery, included a series of floral patining classes with artist Kati Kleimola. Her paint nights will continue on Thursday, April 12 and April 26.

In addition to First Fridays, Fuller has hosted art classes in the gallery, included a series of floral patining classes with artist Kati Kleimola. Her paint nights will continue on Thursday, April 12 and April 26.

Sharing, and saving, space

Fuller sees few changes at the renamed Fuller Art House with her new ownership: “Before, a board oversaw my job and made sure I was bringing the message and purpose of the Foundation to the forefront, but I had a lot of freedom. It was a wonderful job and I am beyond grateful for the opportunity they provided me and for the people who have come into my life.”

Fuller Art House will occupy a smaller space, in the front of the Main St. storefront. “(That) will allow me to fine tune and really select art I want to showcase. I am best (at curating exhibits) when (space is) a bit more intimate.”

On Friday, April 6, Fuller Art House, in conjunction with the Red Bird Arts District First Friday Art Walk, will debut Sylvania artist Larry Golba’s series, A Walk in the Park, on view through May 15.

The new gallery will open with a solo exhibition of Sylvania artist Larry Golba’s series, A Walk in the Park, on view through May 15.

The new gallery will open with a solo exhibition of Sylvania artist Larry Golba’s series, A Walk in the Park, on view through May 15.

“Larry has been a really strong supporter since the beginning,” Fuller says. “So it’s fitting that he would be the first artist I would show. His work is very strong.”

Fuller Art House’s spring plans include Golba offering Saturday morning watercolor classes, in an 8-week course, beginning April 14. As well, Fuller has invited Kati Kleimola to continue her floral painting nights on Thursday, April 12 and April 26.

Fuller looks back at the past five years with gratitude: “I don’t think I would have personally taken on a gallery, or considered running a gallery, had the Foundation not presented me with this opportunity. Everything has just kept expanding and I’m excited about this next chance to grow.”

Space for classes is limited. Register online.
5679 Main St., Sylvania. | 419-882-8949. facebook.com/fullerarthouse