Thursday, February 14, 2013

Biddle Gallery 1995-2012

Thanks for the memories...
Biddle Gallery 1995-2012

In 1994, Ross and I were restless.  He hated his job, so I told him he should quit. It’s the first and only time he ever listened to me! I, on the other hand, had a pretty cushy job as an office manager for a large automotive aftermarket warehouse.  Ross went back to school and took a part time job in the shipping department at Pewabic Pottery, which allowed us to take free classes at the pottery. Who knew sticking our hands in mud would change our lives!

One day we got this crazy idea that we should start our own business, so we put an offer on a building in downtown Wyandotte with plans to open a gallery featuring pottery and handmade tiles.  Our offer for this dilapidated building was not accepted.

Nine months later, my Aunt Lena passed away at the age of 52. My boss at the time, Ron Galecki had just left GM to start a truck accessory business.   I was talking to Ron how life is short and worried I would wake up one day without trying something outside my comfort zone. I was telling him what a bummer it was that we didn’t get the building in Wyandotte. Ron asked if it was still available and when I said yes, he said put another offer in! So, we did, and they accepted!

We sold everything: our house, boat, camper, motorcycle, and on October 2, 1995 we signed the papers to purchase the building at 2840 Biddle Avenue in Downtown Wyandotte.

On December 2, 1995 we sold our first painting – actually 2 paintings by Bruce Tims (you never forget your first!) This event started the first of many happy dances in the back room.

We really had no idea what we were doing. Fortunately, our first show featured Gordon Price. Gordon guided us in creating press releases, postcards, and setting up our first major event. It was a huge success thanks to Gordon, and Frank Pahl whose band, “Only a Mother” performed to a packed gallery during an unseasonably warm night in February 1996.

Biddle Gallery strove to provide work by artists who enlightened viewers either politically, socially, environmentally, spiritually – heck, even mathematically!  If the artwork happened to look good above a couch, that was fine, but we wanted more than that, and felt our customers did as well.

We cranked out some pretty amazing events, but one of my favorites was Summer Solstice. This took place annually for a few years, commencing exactly at the time of the start of summer. Animated movies by Dave Moroski and Davin Brainard, along with a lively sidewalk performance by Charlie Slick, complete with bubble machine, confetti and light show had everyone dancing in the street!

Some events received national recognition. A few standout:  Monkey Day on December 14th, which featured simian theme artwork (customers received a banana with every purchase); our holiday show was featured in Niche magazine; paintings from Janet Allinger’s series, Flying Nun got us on the Catholic Anti Defamation League’s naughty list along with some threatening phone calls from some very angry and not so nice Catholics.

It was an incredible 17 years at Biddle Gallery – from our first show featuring Gordon Price to our last artist-in-residence, Megan Gurisko who brought so much excitement in the summer of 2012, and all the others in between who made Biddle Gallery an amazing space. We learned much and met some incredible people along the way – many who have become life-long friends.  Thank you to all the artists who enlighten us.  We continue to see the world around us in a whole new way and for that, we are grateful.  We could not have done it without you!

Good things end so better things can begin.  As we did 17 years ago, we sold everything and are starting over.


Karen Thomas

To be continued….

Thursday, July 19, 2012


3rd Friday, July 20th 6:00-9:00PM Michigan Art Student Invitational continues. New work arrived this week! Megan Gurisko's ZoMbiE Portraits were such a hit during the Art Fair, she will create more while you wait.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Michigan Art Student Invitational

Mixed Media Show Featuring Aspiring Fine Art Students from Michigan Universities. June 15 – August 18, 2012 Artists Reception, Friday, June 15, 6:00-9:00PM Live Performance by Joe Yankee, Joe Comet and Leah Yankee Curator: Megan Gurisko Wyandotte resident and Grand Valley State University student Megan Gurisko invited fellow art students to participate in a summer long event at Biddle Gallery where she is currently the artist-in-residence. Participants in this mixed media show include Kuu Hubbard, typography/design/printmaking/photography; Elliot Chaltry , illustration/drawing/printmaking; Stephanie Kelsey, printmaking; Melissa Skibbe, sculpture/woodworking; Jessica Accardo, illustration/drawing; Jaclyn Kwiatkowski, ceramics; Chase C, photography; Rachel Mars, metalsmithing/ ceramics; Brian Westrick, ceramics; Michael Rajnicek, printmaking/drawing; Jodi Carpenter, painting/drawing; Molly Zanley, photography; Bent Westrick, printmaking and ceramics; and Megan Gurisko, painting/ drawing. Megan Gurisko will have studio space in the gallery, so stop by and watch her work every Saturday throughout the summer at Biddle Gallery.

Michigan Art Student Invitational

Support your local Michigan young artists this summer as Megan Gurisko curates a mixed media show at Biddle Gallery. Opening is 3rd Friday, June 15th from 6-9 pm. All New Art from All New Artists. Check out Michael Rajnicek. He is one of many artists who will be featured at Biddle Gallery starting June 15th! He is an illustration major from Grand Valley State University. He is a born & raised Michigan native from the lower east side. His artistic ambitions are to work as a freelance illustrator, university art professor, or asu an active member of urban and contemporary art galleries.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Preview of upcoming Art Show curated by Megan Gurisko

Brian Westrick was born and raised in Marine City, Michigan. He attended Marine City High School, and graduated in 2007. He then attended St. Clair County Community College, from which he received his Associates Degree in Art. Later, he enrolled at Grand Valley State University, and graduated having received his Bachelors in Fine Art: Emphasis in Ceramics in 2012. Currently, Brian is continuing his pursuit of ceramics as a career by producing pottery from his house, and attending art fairs and exhibitions throughout Michigan.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Meet Biddle Gallery's new Artist-in-Residence, Megan Gurisko

Meet Biddle Gallery's new Artist-in-Residence, Megan Gurisko during 3rd Friday, May 18, 6:00-9:00 PM. Megan is Biddle Gallery's Artist-in-Residence from May 18th through August 18, 2012. Megan is currently an undergrad at Grand Valley State University working towards a B.F.A. in Painting with a minor in Art History. Megan divides her time between Grand Rapids, MI and Wyandotte, MI. Megan is also curating a mixed media show featuring art students from Michigan Universities.

Monday, April 16, 2012

A Mother and Daughter Meet …finding inspiration in nature and each other. Mixed media collaboration by artists Mary T. Breen and her daughter, Jasmine

April 20 - May 12, 2012
Opening Reception - Friday, April 20th, 6-10pm

Book Signing, Sunbeam's Daydream by Jasmine Leciejewski - Saturday, May 5th, noon-4:00pm

A Mother and Daughter Meet is mixed media collaboration by artists Mary T. Breen and her daughter Jasmine T. Leciejewski.

Canadian born Mary T. Breen moved to Michigan in the 1950’s and enjoyed a creative childhood, always viewing life differently. Mary earned a BA in Art from Central Michigan University and has spent many years implementing art programs, sharing her love of art with people of all ages. Retired in 2000, Mary now enjoys devoting more time to her creative endeavors.

Working in advertising, photographer Jasmine T. Leciejewski has a recently published children’s book, A Sunbeam’s Daydream. As an author/illustrator Jasmine has found creative expression through many mediums not just photography - “ My mom and I have always shared a love of all things creative, we are thrilled to bring our two styles together for the first time and celebrate that fact.”

Sunbeam's Daydream will be available soon at Barnes & Nobles, but Jasmine will sign copies of her illustrated children's storybook at Biddle Gallery on Saturday, May 5, noon - 4:00PM.

Please join these two Michigan artists as they share images inspired by nature… and each other.