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New art shop gives buyers a chance to support local creators and learn the stories behind their work

Art on Market Shoppes is set for its grand opening on May 1. The one-stop shop mini-mall currently displays a variety of work from more than 15 local artists.

TOLEDO, Ohio — A new place to shop is officially opening up in downtown Toledo.

It's a mix of art studios and art for sale; an outlet that many local artists are need of after so many events were cancelled last year with the pandemic.

At the corner of Erie and Market streets, a fresh new sign went up on the door of the Art on Market Shoppes just in time for the grand opening.

"It's kind of a bit of sensory overload and that's what we're going for, we want a variety, we want you to have more things to see than you can take in," Art on Market Street Shoppes General Manager Mitchell Antesty said.

Six studio spaces, all taken up by different artists with different mediums, allow people to hear the story behind what they're buying from the creator.

One of those spaces is run by the masterminds behind this new venue, where their Toledo Lamp Company has found its home.

"It's so easy to go to one of the online outlets and look for some art and get a mass-produced piece, but when you're supporting the local, they appreciate it so much because they need that support," Antesty said.

Shai Bledsoe was inspired to rent out part of a studio for their photography and painting.

Like many other artists here, this isn't Shai's only job, but they have dreams of someday working full time in art, photography and filmmaking.

"It's become a very therapeutic but also spiritual thing for me to be present while painting," Bledsoe said. 

While here, Shai is also working on a project with Esquire magazine, focusing mainly on street photography.

"I'm making a step into the professional world now and to have a space like this in Toledo, it's never been a thing and we really need that," Bledsoe said.

The space also has a metaphysical healing space and is currently showing work for sale from 15 different artists. But that number, and the work on the walls, is always changing. 

Check out Art on Market Shoppes' grand opening Saturday, May 1 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 201 S. Erie St. Just look for that fresh new sign on the door off Market Street.

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