Art Found Gallery to open in Dowagiac this spring

Published 9:50 am Wednesday, March 6, 2019

DOWAGIAC — Stephan Roll is a Marcellus man in his heart and his history. However, when he discovered the beauty and potential in downtown Dowagiac, he realized it was the perfect place for his new art gallery, Art Found Gallery.

With heavy foot traffic, moderate vehicle traffic and solid neighboring businesses, Roll found a place where his own art and that of others could have the exposure it deserves.

Roll is an artist. It was a forgotten interest picked up after he retired in 2009. Although he was not an artist by trade, he had an eye for what he liked and a niche that was self-developed.

His art is unconventional and original, comprised of doodads, knickknacks and all varieties of old and forgotten memorabilia. His pieces display backboards of salvaged wood, black and white photographs of nameless people, twisting ropes, old garden tools, nautical gadgets and every other thinkable cross of vintage and rustic odds and ends haphazardly pieced together yet artfully constructed.

“It’s just taking everyday objects and making juxtapositions,” Roll said. “I never know what I’m going to do with (individual components).”

In the future home of Art Found, 126 S. Front St., Roll will have a section of wall space specifically for his unusual compilations. The storefront, however, is something of an artwork for Roll as he and Walter Gersitz transform the former barbershop back to some of its original glory.

“I feel about the gallery that we’re saying we’re bringing it back to original luster,” Roll said.

Roll and Gersitz have worked hard to bring back some of the building’s 19th Century aesthetic by exposing the brick walls and uncovering the tin ceilings. The interior will have some updated touches, however, and will be much like Roll’s art pieces: vintage, but bright and new.

“This is an art project for me, and I want to make it as pretty as I possibly can,” Roll said. “We’re having fun doing this.”

Roll is on track to open Art Found in May, which will then become the sole base for his art pieces, of which he has several dozen. Currently, Roll has more than 20 pieces of his art in an exhibit at the Buchanan Art Center. The exhibit will be on display in Buchanan until March 30, and some of his pieces are even for sale.

Art Found will also be open to local artists. Roll believes his prices will be modest for artists looking to display their work in local galleries. He plans to rent out space for $60 a month for a four-month lease. He also plans to keep work in the gallery on a regular rotation to keep visitors and customers interested.

“Artists will really want to go there. I want to make it a go-to place for artists,” Roll said. “I really want to have high-end art and quality artists in here.”

Roll knows personally the importance of having affordable options for displaying art. His Buchanan exhibit is his first show, and he hopes to make Art Found Gallery a place where artists can similarly display first works of high-quality make.

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