Longtime Short North Gallery ROY G BIV reopens in Franklinton

Lynette Santoro-Au takes a break from hosting this reporter — for which she took a break from helping install an art exhibition — to view (and approve, presumably) the just-hung ROY G BIV sign that will greet visitors to the newly relocated art gallery.

A team from Kobolt Studios, one of ROY G BIV's new neighbors in Franklinton, had just finished installing the sign, and it was well worth the pause for Santoro-Au, the gallery's brand-new director, as ROY G BIV readies for its grand opening in the neighborhood after nearly 30 years in the Short North.

“The Short North has changed. Franklinton is now a place for emerging artists, new ideas and pushing the envelope in terms of medium and presentation and finding your voice, and that's very much in keeping with what ROY does,” Santoro-Au said.

ROY Board President J.D. Beiting explained how the changing times impacted the gallery.

“Our building was purchased, and the new owners had a different vision. But we were given a lot of leeway as we planned out our future,” Beiting said. “Once we saw the opportunity in Franklinton, especially to be near and to work with other arts spaces and organizations here, this spot offered the best opportunity to serve emerging artists.”

The gallery is celebrating the occasion with “Family Reunion,” an exhibition of works by artists who've shown at ROY since the gallery's opening in 1989. The pieces will be arranged broadly in chronological order, with work representing as much of the gallery's history as possible.

“We put out a call, and we learned that, for some times, records were kept better than others,” Santoro-Au said. “But then word of mouth and social media helped. We'd have artists reach out to us and we said, ‘Sure, we'll find a way to get it in.'”

“The way we look at it, when you move into a new house, you have family and friends to help you move in,” Beiting said. He expanded the metaphor by adding that the next exhibition, which will open this summer, will be called “Home,” and will feature Franklinton artists. “You know, when the new neighbors stop by and bring pie,” he joked.

Meantime, “Family Reunion” will feature past artists and gallery administrators, as well. Many of the artists are no longer emerging, and thus this is a rare opportunity for them to exhibit at the gallery that, in many instances, gave them their start, Beiting said. He also said that past board members and directors have gone on, not only to successful careers as working artists, but to careers in arts administration as well.

“It makes us feel great about our mission, and it's a reassurance that our hard work was for good,” he said. “It's evident on the walls and in the people.”