EDGEWATER — An Edgewater couple has turned a pandemic hobby into a business, making them the owners of the area’s newest art gallery.
Art Hub Chicago opened in early November at 1227 W. Devon Ave., blocks from owners Ozgun Danaci and Sarah Sutphin’s Edgewater home. The gallery is an offshoot of the business they started at home during the height of the coronavirus pandemic.
That was when Sutphin was furloughed from her job as a preschool teacher. Sutphin picked up painting again, returning to a hobby she went to school for but had dropped in favor of her career.
“After I got furloughed, I wasn’t doing much,” Sutphin said. “I had all the supplies, so I started painting again.”
Sutphin began selling paintings on Etsy, where she racked up hundreds of sales in the first year. With the help of Danaci, her partner, the two began selling Sutphin’s art at summer street fairs.
After that early success, Sutphin and Danaci decided to open an art gallery in time for the holidays.
“I’ve always wanted to start my own business,” said Danaci, who works as a project manager in the renewable energy sector. “Etsy was so successful, and we had enough paintings that we thought, ‘We should open a gallery.'”
Art Hub Gallery sells Sutphin’s work, plus prints, ornaments, candles made by Danaci, ceramics and other gifts.
Sutphin is the main artist represented in the gallery, with her colorful depictions of celebrities, landscapes and city scenes visible from the street. Danaci manages the store while Sutphin paints in the space.
Art Hub Gallery also sells work from other artists, including from Germany-based Jeremy Rosen and Teddy Sutphin, Sarah’s dad.
Teddy Sutphin has a background in fine arts and helped spark his daughter’s love of the art form. As a professional chef, Teddy Sutphin also found himself with more free time during the pandemic. His daughter convinced him to get back into painting, and now his work can be found in Art Hub Gallery.
Many of Teddy Sutphin’s contributions to the gallery are paintings of Dayton, Ohio, where Sarah was raised.
“I always loved doing it, getting lost in painting,” said Teddy Sutphin, who was in Chicago from his home in Kentucky for an artist residence at Art Hub Gallery. Sarah Sutphin “said, ‘You taught me so much about art. Why don’t you keep painting?'”
After the online store found success, Danaci knew he wanted to open a gallery in the couple’s home neighborhood, he said. While walking, he found a storefront at the corner of Devon and Magnolia avenues that was vacant and decided to rent the space.
“With the holidays coming up, I thought it was a good time to try something in the neighborhood,” Danaci said.
Art Hub Gallery seeks to differentiate itself from other North Side art dealers by being inviting and affordable, the owners said. The gift items arranged in the window offer something for people not into collecting art. And Art Hub Gallery offers painting for $35-$750, with many works costing less than $200.
“We don’t want to make it a museum feel,” Sutphin said. “We want to be approachable to everyone.”
The couple has signed a year-long lease for the gallery. They will also continue to sell at markets, including Edgewater’s holiday pop-up market on Bryn Mawr Avenue. If there is enough community support, the gallery will stick around for longer, they said. So far, the support from the community has been good.
“We’re trying to see where this takes us,” Danaci said.
Art Hub Gallery is open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. daily. For more information, click here.
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