Local Girl Gallery owner Linda Goik finds her niche in showing other artists
by Evelyn Theiss / Plain Dealer Reporter
Thursday July 30, 2009, 3:35 PM
It's not every woman who could go from running a day-care center in her home for 11 years to operating an art gallery, but Linda Goik somehow makes it seem logical.
Because artwork, to her, doesn't have to be dark to be deep. It can revel in bright colors; it can certainly be accessible -- to artists, children and everyone in between.
In 2004, when the oldest of her three children went off to college, Goik decided it was time to take the plunge into another kind of business. She found a 900-square-foot space -- a former beauty salon -- on Lakewood's Detroit Avenue, and converted into the Local Girl Gallery.
Not that Goik, 46, didn't know something about art. She'd long been a fiber artist and painter; her favorite artists and inspirations were, and are, Paul Klee and Joan Miro. She could feel the vivid power and energy of their abstract work, all the way into her body.
For many people, overseeing a small group of children each day could be energy-sapping. Goik, though, came to view it as a laboratory for spawning their pure creativity.
Clearly a woman who is not easily flustered, she delighted in how children unself-consciously expressed themselves with crayons or paint on paper. She loved to see how they were drawn to the brightest of hues -- as she herself still is.
As a gallery owner, Goik mostly shows other people's work, and about 95 percent of it is local, as the name of her gallery implies. Goik's own work is seen in her hand-painted silk scarves, which float from a bar on the airily high ceiling.
The gallery features an insistently eclectic mix, from papier-mache whimsical animals and striking acrylic paintings to glass and sterling jewelry. There are reworked and embellished vintage handbags, as well as pottery and felted-wool creatures. The latter, called KnitWits, are by another local girl, Kris Barnes.
"I think I am a cheerful person," says Goik, "and I like art that is happy. Art that you can come back to, that makes you feel good." Goik, who grew up and lived most of her life in Cleveland's West Park neighborhood, now lives in Lakewood with her husband in an "old money pit," she jokes.
She says she loves living and working in a community that supports art -- and one that she supports by participating in all kinds of good causes. Goik says she's helped raised about $40,000 through her efforts.
She also knows her customers so well that she easily remembers what else they bought from her, even if it was a few years ago.
But we still had a question for Goik: Why do so many galleries offer so much jewelry?
"Jewelry pays the bills," she answers candidly. It's affordable, women love it, and it's always a great gift. Much of the jewelry at Local Girl is colorful, as you'd expect, and a number of pieces are unusual, like Japanese polymer clay pendants by Barb Zelley.
It isn't just jewelry, though, that's affordable at Local Girl Gallery. Large acrylic paintings, like Michael Schmidt's starkly contemporary landscapes, start at $300 -- so even a non-wealthy person can decorate his or her home with original art. "For many artists, this is their first experience of having their work shown in a gallery," says Goik.
This local girl obviously gets a big kick out of helping them achieve that.