Laura Kuenzli, Gallery Owner
by Roger Grosswiler From the Columbus Alive!
Laura Kuenzli opened Rivet, a designer toy store and art gallery, just in time for June's Gallery Hop. "What's the big deal?" art enthusiasts might ask. Spaces like this, which offer in limited-edition runs the kind of lowbrow flavor found in Juxtapoz magazine, just aren't that common, period.
The majority of them are in larger cities already known for endless amounts of sweet stuff. Rivet joins Kidrobot, Schmancy and similar establishments in places like New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Seattle and Toronto.
While some stores in Columbus carry a handful of designer toys mixed in with other items, Rivet's retail focus is the toys. Some related art books and prints by artists who've shown at the space, or who fit with Kuenzli's aesthetic, are also regular fixtures.
Since opening shop, the business owner and curator has had plenty of artists e-mailing and stopping by to express interest in showing there. What she's put together so far is varied and impressive, including the nationally touring benefit show GimmeShelter.
The rest of this year features two-person shows, except for November, which will feature the plush toy group show Stuff This. England's Doktor A is on the schedule to showcase his paintings, sculptures and customized toys, and according to Kuenzli, her exhibition schedule is filling up through the spring.
Rivet Designer Toy and Art Gallery. 1200 N. High St., Short North 614-294-8697
Kuenzli also reported that on the retail side, her first few months of business have been a success. There's been a steady increase of both Gallery Hop attendees and general shoppers, including out-of-town visitors. Items have been moving steadily, and because when designer toys are gone, they're gone, there were only a couple of familiar items from my last visit.
"Turning inventory over faster has taken some getting used to," Kuenzli said. "It's a matter of finding what will appeal to people." If a new and exciting retail and gallery space and a most accommodating proprietor fit the bill, she's already found it.