The gallery owner on closing her space and the next phase of her career

Over the past six years at the Angela Meleca Gallery, the walls have rarely been bare for long: When one show comes to a close, another pops up. In March, however, when an exhibit featuring the sculptures of Columbus College of Art & Design professor Danielle Julian Norton wrapped up, the gallery itself followed suit.

Owner Angela Meleca, who opened the gallery at 144 E. State St. in 2013, decided to close the prominent visual arts venue to take a position as director of advancement at Besa, an organization that links people to charitable opportunities. The whole Meleca family is in the midst of a season of change: Her husband, architect David Meleca, recently shuttered his architectural firm to become a principal with Moody Nolan.

We recently caught up with Meleca via email to find out more.

Why did you decide to close the gallery?

I always try to take note of how effective I think I am in contributing to a greater good. From a community-building point of view, I felt I reached a plateau in my role as a gallery owner. I started looking for where I could add value. The perfect opportunity presented itself in Besa. Besa is an organization dedicated to connecting communities through civic engagement and giving back—building bridges by doing good for others.

What happens to the gallery’s artists in terms of representation?

The artists I worked closest with I consider part of my family. We spent the last seven years with them, in and out of our home regularly. I have no doubt the relationships will continue in some form. Stay tuned!

You were a newcomer to the gallery business when it opened in 2013. Did you find it a financially viable business?

I quickly discovered some first-rate contemporary artists who didn’t have opportunities to show their work in a commercial setting. I desired to expand the idea of what a commercial gallery could be in Columbus. My passion was more about being transformational than transactional.

Looking back over the years of exhibits and artists you’ve featured, what are some of your proudest moments?

That’s tough. It’s like asking which of your children are you proudest [of]. Every partnership with every artist was different and came from a different perspective. I am thankful for the time exploring thought-provoking ideas and sharing those ideas with a broader audience.

Your husband, David, recently moved on from his architectural firm. Was that just a coincidence, or were you both looking to do different things at the same time?

Fate is a funny thing. I started my transitional thinking months before David’s opportunity at Moody Nolan presented itself. I don’t believe in coincidences; we pray and follow the path put before us.

Both David’s firm and your gallery were located at 144 E. State St.—will you still own the building? Will your family still live on the second floor?

We love living Downtown and plan to continue doing so. We are exploring leasing the first floor.

Do you see yourself continuing to be a voice in the visual arts world?

Will I continue to engage and support individual artists? Yes. I gain so much perspective from artists and the art community, and hope never to stop.


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