New River East Gallery hosts Locals Only art exhibition

On May 7, 2022, artists and community members from the Toledo area gathered at Main Street’s newest addition, East River Gallery, to celebrate the inauguration of what is sure to become a staple of the local art scene. When Chris “Chilly” Rodriquez, Con-Tron and Luke Stoeckley discovered the bones of an old abandoned tattoo shop, they saw more than just another empty building. They saw an opportunity to fulfill their dreams and add a splash of color and vibrancy to the neighborhood.

After Chilly and Con-Tron’s previous lease ended in 2021, they found the space and, with the help of their longtime friend Luke, began renovating it, ripping up the ugly floors and giving back. life in the once neglected building. We spoke to Stoeckley at the gallery about being able to work so closely with good friends. He said: “It has been amazing and a blessing. The way we all word as a team here makes everything easier, it seems like things are flowing. The course has been great for the owners, but it’s also a step in the right direction for the neighborhood.

One of the big draws of the place is the fact that there is nothing art-related except a few murals. While the East Side might be considered a scary place, guys don’t see it that way. They are excited to be able to bring positivity, to show people that there are possibilities for the neighborhood if people are willing to collaborate. Over the next ten years, Stoeckley sees Main Street becoming “Toledo’s next downtown” with people walking, food trucks, mom and pop shops, and more art venues, including a revitalization of Frankie’s.


Chilly Rodriguez: Chilly is a father, artist, muralist, left hand amputee and well known in the Toledo region and beyond for his bold street art inspired work. His painting can be found on food trucks, inside gymnasiums and restaurants, on giant canvases, and on grain silos overlooking the Maumee River.

Con-Tron: Con-Tron is a painter and muralist. He has had solo exhibitions at local establishments like The standard and painted murals at large-scale events like Infrasound Music Festival in Minnesota. His work plays with texture and contrast, and he uses mixed media and a variety of materials for the “canvases”.

Luke Stoeckley: Of the three co-owners of River East, Luke is the only one who is not (yet) a full-time artist. He is a cook Bubba’s 33 and like many artists, does everything he can to find the time and energy to paint. When he creates, he finds deeper meaning in the subjects that become the centerpieces of hsi projects.

Art exhibition reserved for locals

River East Gallery will host Locals only: one group exhibition until August 23. This show features 25 local artists, with each contributor displaying an artwork. These pieces will be available for sale, but they will remain in the gallery for a month after the opening which took place on July 23. Musician David Kevin Adam also performed live during the event.

Before the show, the owners compiled a list of local artists. There are so many talented artists in the Toledo area, and it has become a matter of availability. “We counted the number of paintings we had already hung. So we can probably accommodate around 20-25 artists comfortably,” Stoeckley said. “With so many different artists on display, it’s going to be crazy for viewers to come in and see so many different styles.”

East River Gallery
601 Main Street
East of Toledo, 43605

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