MEDINA — When Noelle Wiedemer and Kim Keil opened their downtown art gallery last fall, they anticipated the monthly gallery shows would help to draw interest in arts classes.
Nine months in, the classes are leading the growth of the Wide Angle Art Gallery, which is expanding this summer to fill an adjoining second-floor studio space above Vision 2000 and Sunburst Tanning.
The expansion will be completed within the next month as the gallery prepares for Wild About Paper, a summer arts camp.
The camp will start Aug. 1 and be led by Clifford Wise Intermediate/Middle School teacher Judy Light, with a mix of hands-on activities and art history.
The Main Street studio, open Wednesdays to Sundays, currently hosts regular classes ranging from basic drawing, photography, oil painting and ceramics. A monthly “Cocktails and Canvases” program and the weekly “Making Marks!” program for toddlers and parents are also mixed into the hectic schedule.
“We’ve been surprised that the classes grew so quickly,” Wiedemer said Tuesday. “We thought it would be the other way around … it’s amazing how busy it’s been.”
The additional 700-square-feet of space will allow Wiedemer and Keil to shift their offices, and the area inhabited by large and friendly poodles Morty and Millie; while doubling the room for classes, some of which overlap. The studio’s kilns are already in the basement to create more space.
The extra rooms will allow for 25 to 30 additional people in the studios depending on the project while retaining the downstairs gallery.
Wide Angle rotates its gallery shows monthly, featuring a mix of styles, mediums and artists — many putting on their first solo exhibition.
Ve MacKay’s “Thresholds of Loss: A Journey of Grief and Other Assorted Art Works” — a series of portraits depicting scenes around rural doorways — runs through June 27. Tom Zangerle, who teaches a oil painting class at the gallery, will debut “Landscapes by Tom Zangerle (Someone’s Backyard)” July 11.
Pottery and sculpture have also been featured, with Parker Sillaway Pascua’s May exhibition “Mary, Mary” featuring shrines of the Virgin Mary.
“As long as you can get it in the door,” said Wiedemer, who added they hope to add music, poetry and lecture series in the near future.
The gallery has also drawn the attention of the Genesee-Orleans Council on the Arts. GO ART! Executive Director Heather Grant toured the gallery and future studio Tuesday, and said the arts council may look to bring a satellite office and galleries to Wide Angle.
GO ART! sees the space as a way to reach Orleans County artists and as a host for interactive programs and shows that the agency could help fund.
“It’s a fantastic idea,” Wiedemer said. “We want to encompass all the arts. I would love someone to do a whole installation downstairs, interactive art.”
For now, the Wiedemer and Keil are content to grow their studios and bring their artists to the public in the gallery and in a planned demonstration, retail and mobile gallery at the Canal Village Farmers Market opening next month in Medina.