Dentist turns office into art gallery Space hosts a new art exhibit every quarter

By Marta Hepler Drahos
Traverse City Record-Eagle

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) - Visitors approaching the Dentolutions offices might mistake the sculpture outside for a giant red, avant-garde toothbrush.

Closer inspection reveals artist David Petrakovitz's "Greetings From the Red Planet" - one of dozens of art works on display at "Office Space," one of Traverse City's most unusual venues for art, the Traverse City Record-Eagle reported.

The space, located inside the Dentolutions offices in the Cedar Run medical complex, is the long-time dream of dentist James Reznich, an art lover, art student and art patron. Reznich, after remodeling his offices three years ago, took a look at the stock art on the walls and thought he could do better.

He approached friend Marcia Bellinger, owner of the former Belstone Gallery in downtown Traverse City, who referred him to local artist Nancy Crisp. Now 1,500 square feet of space - from the lobby entrance to the corridors leading to patient areas and beyond - is devoted to the work of well-known area artists.

"I've always loved art, so this has been great," said Reznich, whose space hosts a new art exhibition every quarter, complete with wine-and-cheese opening reception. "It's selfish in a way. I get to see all the art, talk about art, meet the artists.

"Every time the show changes, we all look forward to it. The character of the office changes. The patients - the ones that notice - tend to like it. That's a really fun aspect," he said.

Crisp volunteers as facilitator for the Office Space, scheduling artists, overseeing the hanging of shows - her own opened in January - and helping with promotion. The space is booked through winter of 2015 with some of the artists who clamor for their own show after seeing it, she said.

"There are so few places in Traverse City to show your work. It's always difficult selling art, getting exposure, getting new venues," she said. "The really nice thing about the Office is that it has beautiful light and a wall color that makes everybody's work stand out. And he puts it in a setting that's a little more intimate than a gallery."

The venue offers artists other advantages over gallery space, too, like the opportunity to show and sell work exclusively, without a gallery commission. Artists also get to display their work for three months instead of the two months typical at galleries.

"You get to see your work in a space all together; you're not in a gallery with a lot of other people. And that's a big thing for an artist," said Joyce Petrakovitz, a Cadillac painter whose spring show with her sculptor husband, David, resulted in the sale of four works. "Because James doesn't take a commission, the artist doesn't have to jack the prices up to cover the commission. So the prices are way more affordable and it's a good opportunity for somebody to buy art."

Often that somebody is Reznich himself, whose growing collection also includes works by his grandfather, stepmother-in-law and former exchange student now studying in London.

Reznich gained an appreciation for art while accompanying his father, a humanities professor, to Detroit area museums and theaters. He discovered his own artistic abilities - beyond restorative dentistry - while building and painting sets and set pieces for his son's high school musical.

Now he studies sculpture with Doug Hoagg, a Traverse City artist whose drawings and paintings formed the first art exhibition at the Office Space 10 months ago.

"It's definitely a different venue," Petrakovitz said. "When they approached us about it we thought it was an odd idea until we met James and realized how excited he is about art and the idea of having these shows in his office. When I say, 'I'm having an art show at a dentist's office,' people kind of look at me funny."

Reznich's excitement quickly spread to the rest of his staff, who often find themselves thinking and talking about art.

"It's an everyday occurrence, which is weird because I'm not a connoisseur," said Lynsey Hochstetler, Dentolutions chief operating officer. "Every time a new show goes up, it's like, 'Woohoo, we got new art.'"

And there's an added bonus for patients.

"This does not look like a dental environment. It's great for people who have fears or anxieties," Hochstetler said.

Published: Wed, Aug 06, 2014


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