Grand Rapids, Ohio can best be described as quaint, with its cozy atmosphere and its many small, locally owned businesses that line downtown. Nestled among those shops is Angelwood Gallery. Celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, the gallery was founded and is still owned by Julie Beutler. In fact, the Angelwood Gallery is the oldest woman-owned store in Grand Rapids.
Ms. Beutler was born in Erie, Michigan and attended Siena Heights University in Adrian. The summer after she graduated, at the age of twenty-one, she opened Angelwood Gallery. Ms. Beutler credits her parents’ support to her gallery’s success. “I found the gallery space because my dad used to be in sales and had traveled to many small towns,” she explains, “We went to many towns and cities within an hour of my parents, who were very supportive and since I was so young, I needed to live at home with them while I got my gallery up and running.”
The Angelwood Gallery opened in 1993 and in 1994 Ms. Beutler completed her on-site pottery studio, where she began teaching classes. In 1997, the 577 Foundation in Perrysburg approached her to teach pottery classes. “Within a few months, I ended up managing the whole pottery program there and have just marked my 25th anniversary with 577,” Ms. Beutler says, “I stay very busy but am so fortunate to not only make pottery, which I have so much passion for, but I have also been able to teach pottery to all ages and to share my love and knowledge of clay with thousands of students! I work so much because I literally have the coolest jobs in pottery!”
The Angelwood Gallery predominantly showcases Julie Beutler’s pottery pieces and some of her photography. Other items for sale are made by local artists in and around Grand Rapids. Beutler explains, “It is very important to me that we showcase local talent because the Toledo area is filled with talented artists. One of the highlights of my career is selling my own work with so many local artists.”
Beutler’s handmade pieces are functional designs, including pieces like bowls, coffee mugs and serving plates. The reason why she focuses on functional pieces is that “as a potter, there is no bigger compliment than someone using and loving your handmade pieces.”
“Grand Rapids is an amazing town with so much to offer,” said Beutler. “We are surrounded by parks, both state, city, and Toledo Metroparks. We have over twenty local businesses, plus there are plenty of year-round events. It’s a great place to escape to for the day or the weekend.” Hours for the gallery change seasonally, so check the website.
24195 Front St., Grand Rapids. 419-832-0625. angelwoodgallery.com.