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Pandemic shutters Wadsworth gallery supporting local artists

A closing sale sign on the door is a new one for owner
Manic on Main
Posted at 5:32 PM, Aug 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-13 20:51:12-04

WADSWORTH, Ohio — "Just like all these little things went click, click, click, click into place," said artist Kristen LeFever about the little signs that brought her to Wadsworth after she left New Jersey in 2019.

"Wadsworth -- I'd never even been to Wadsworth before," the Akron native said, standing in her shop, Manic on Main. "Then all these little things kept happening."

Little signs drove her to open her showcase for local artists near the town square.

"We were doing really well for like a year and a half," LeFever said about the early days. But now, she's getting a new sign. A black and white, 8x11 sheet of paper hangs on her shop door reading: "Closing sale. 30% off everything."

The pandemic took its toll on Manic on Main like it did on so many other small businesses.

"It's not possible to keep a high overhead space like this without the events and classes and foot traffic," she said.

The space near the square has several rooms full of art made by artists with a smaller footprint. LeFever has art of all kinds from artists located in Ohio and other states.

For the decision to close, there was no greater sign than the sign of the times.

"So yes, I would say there are signs even now," LeFever said. People are staying home and not spending money on things like art.

While the paper sign hangs on the door, LeFever is figuring out what to do next. She's having one more show, which will shine a light on a local artist on Aug. 14.

"The main gallery is going to look like a museum," she said during the last few hours of setup. "Right now it looks like a yard sale. So that's what's going on now."

LeFever said she wants to stay in Wadsworth and still wants to show off what artists can do.

"Everybody has to figure out a different way to live in this world," she said.

While she's waiting for a sign of what to do next, she's going to keep supporting artists and sell as much as she can before she turns her "open" sign to "closed."