New art gallery opens
by Dan Holland
For local artist Layden Ferguson, the opening of Frontdoor Gallery at 3838 Brecksville Rd. on March 24, was the first step in achieving his dream of beginning a career displaying and selling his paintings, created in the basement studio.
Ferguson, who grew up in Brecksville and graduated from Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy, specializes in abstract, acrylic paintings on canvas. Three of his paintings sold during the shop’s first weekend of being open. The business also offers greeting cards, small gifts, home goods and décor, cold drinks, snacks and candy.
Ferguson’s mother and stepfather, Mary and Paul Maleksi of Brecksville, helped him find the property and finance its renovation and opening. In March 2022, the family took possession of the 1930 building, which most recently housed Pink Velvet Art Studio.
“I’ve always been interested in the arts, and I knew college wasn’t going to be the route for me after high school,” explained Ferguson. “So, I had to seriously think about what I wanted to start working toward, and I decided to really go for it in art. I want to make this into something I can get behind and process some longevity for myself.”
The location, in close proximity to other businesses – a number of which are located in the adjacent 1823 Stagecoach Building – helped Ferguson choose the building.
“I drove by this building and saw the For Sale sign on it and thought that it was exactly what I was picturing for this business,” said Ferguson. “I came down with my parents and set up an appointment to see it with the owner. We came in, and the ideas just started flowing. It became apparent that it would be perfect for the vision I had.”
Connecting with other local artists is one of the goals of the business, said Paul Maleski.
“Layden’s whole idea with this project is to bring in additional artists from the community and let them display their products as well,” said Maleski. “The main thing, though, is Layden’s art and promoting who he is and what he’s about and growing throughout the community with his artwork.”
“I see this becoming more artistic over time, and I’m looking forward to meeting other artists and people who have other ideas to put things in the store,” added Ferguson. “We also have all the great businesses next door and nearby us. It’s a great location, and I think there is true promise in bringing art back to the area.”
Making connections in the local community is a vital part of the new business, added Maleski.
“We want residents to come in and support our store, but we also want to figure out ways to give back to the community,” he said. “We want to make everyone aware of all that is going on at that corner and help people enjoy an afternoon stroll, or if you’re just out and about and need a quick item or you want to spruce up your home with a new painting. We want people to come in and take a look at all we have to offer.”
“I know so many people who create art in their spare time, and there’s a lot of art out there that never gets seen,” said Ferguson. “I think artists through the times have served a vital purpose, and I want to put at least a little bit of a spotlight on that.” ∞
Featured Photo: Frontdoor Gallery is a new art studio near the corner of Brecksville Road and Rt. 303. Photo by D. Holland.