Paul Sears, owner of Objects of Desire Artful Living, is launching the series Local Artists of the Week on Tuesday, in conjunction with his shop’s reopening. The series seeks to promote work by local artists, such as Fostoria watercolorist Jen Sowders (above) and Richard Ruehle of Findlay, who created this shallow hand-turned curly maple plate with lid. (Provided photos)

By JEANNIE WILEY WOLF

Staff Writer

The economic slowdown caused by COVID-19 has affected everyone — artists included. So local businessman Paul Sears is taking steps to help.

Sears, owner of Objects of Desire Artful Living in downtown Findlay, is set to reopen his gift shop on Tuesday. That’s also the day he plans to launch his new Local Artists of the Week series. The website initiative is designed to promote the work and sale of art by artists in the Findlay area.

“We have a lot of creative artists in our vicinity,” said Sears, noting that over the years, his customers have been intrigued by the works in his store and ask about whether he sells pieces by local artists. “And of course I do.”

But he said it occurred to him during this stay-at-home phase that artists are among those who are being hurt by the fact that they can’t present their art to the public as effectively as they once could.

“We just had ArtWalk, for example,” he said. “Strenuous efforts were done to make a semblance of ArtWalk work online. But the reality is, it’s not as effective as if you had direct access to the art and the artists.”

So Sears wanted to offer a helping hand. The plan is to feature a different local artist each week on his website.

“Some of those artists may also be represented in items that I carry in the shop, but I just don’t have room for everybody,” he said. “So the program is focused on the website.”

Sears said he’ll communicate the news with audiences through his own email lists and social media. The Marathon Center for the Performing Arts and Findlay Art League have also agreed to support the effort and send out notifications.

Sears is currently building a list of artists. He is also sending an invitation to members of the art league and will be contacting art groups in Tiffin and Lima, as well as those involved in social media groups such as Art and Artists of 419.

“We have some awfully talented people here,” he said, “and that’s what I’d like to highlight, the creative local artists.”

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