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Meet Danielle Klein

Today we’d like to introduce you to Danielle Klein.  

Hi Danielle, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
Stella’s Art Gallery started as a mother/daughter team: Carol Stellabotte Pitts/Dani Klein, influenced by the family’s matriarch, Carol’s mother, Filomenia Stellabotte, who was a painter, potter, and fiber artist. Dani grew up watching her grandmother create. She was fascinated by her ability to paint landscapes in oils or acrylics and knew at a very young age that she wanted art to be part of her career. 

Dani was introduced to Art Therapy during a field trip she took in high school to Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital in Cleveland. Needless to say, as a freshman in college, she declared her undergraduate degree in Art Therapy and in 1999 graduated with a Master’s Degree in Art Therapy. Shortly after graduating, she began her career at an at-risk school and counseling agency. A few years into her career, she found time again for her own art and decided to revisit “clay”. At the same time, Carol’s husband was diagnosed with cancer. Dani knew her mother needed an outlet. So, together, they starting a clay class and learned they were pretty decent at it. This began their journey and development of Stella’s Art Gallery. They met many local artists that desired a place to create, sell, and teach their skills at local art agencies and festivals. They connected with 8 artists and created a founding crew: Candace Barr, Nancy Nelson Brotz, Julie Cook, and Jeff Sivyer to name a few -these artists started with them prior to the brick and mortar and are highly active with Stella’s close to 10 years later! 

Since the initial conception of their idea, to give artists a home, we have grown tremendously. In 2017 we opened our first location with 25 artists. Three years later, as Covid hit, we moved into a larger location that houses over 60 local artists in Downtown Willoughby. We offer unique classes and workshops, artisan events, and host “Calls for Art”. Our “Calls for Art” are themed shows juried by an outside professional. We have monthly receptions to kickoff new exhibits every Second Friday evening of the month. 

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
We have been pretty fortunate by not venturing down any major bumpy roads, other than Covid. It took our entire team working together to help spread the importance of art in everyone’s lives during a pandemic. It wasn’t easy and still isn’t, but things are going in the right direction for us. 

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
Dani In addition to running the daily operations of the gallery, I am a potter and sculptor. You can find me throwing on the wheel or hand-building a sculpture made out of clay, wood, wire, plaster, and up-cycled materials. What I’m most proud of is the community of artists we have built. I feel we have the most supportive group around! We push to improve, cheer when we hit a grand slam, and comfort when we hit a creative block. I’m not sure what sets me apart from others…. I’ve been told that I have a usual calming personality. -I think that can be both a positive and negative attribute. I know I am good with people -I may not be a practicing Art Therapist, but I know I use my education daily and for that, I am very grateful. 

Carol as a mother, I am very proud to work with Dani. We both liked working with Clay and building wonderful pieces of pottery I am more of a hand builder working on the slab roller. I enjoy painting and having classes in the Art Gallery and local shops. I am told I have a flamboyant style. My talent comes from my mother. 

How can people work with you, collaborate with you, or support you?
People can work and collaborate with us by visiting the gallery, connecting on social media, and visiting our website. We’d love to meet you! We enjoy collaborating with outside agencies…bring them joy through the visual arts is our favorite thing to do! 

To support the gallery, visit! Buy local artwork. A sale gives opportunity to the artist that you purchased from. Take a class for the same reason! 

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