20 North Gallery


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18 N. St.Clair Street
Toledo, Ohio 43604

By Appointment Only 



20 North Gallery is the oldest-established fine art gallery in the city of Toledo.  Located in the downtown Warehouse District, 20 North Gallery is committed to providing emerging and established fine artists with a commercial venue to display and sell their work, bringing art and arts experiences to the greater-Toledo community—and assisting collectors in building both corporate and private collections.


20 North Gallery represents both traditional and contemporary artists working in a variety of media, and offers patrons residential and office consultations for art placement and installation.  To schedule a consultation, please contact the gallery during regular hours of operation.


20 North Gallery is no longer mounting public exhibitions.
Private viewings of artwork by our contracted artists are available by appointment only.

Article written and published in "The Blade"

'Little glowing oasis' to go dark
20 North Gallery closes Friday

Published 5/18/2013

Eric Hillenbrand doesn’t have to think too hard to remember when downtown Toledo was a desolate, worn-out shell of its proud past.

Twenty years ago he bought a building at 20 North St. Clair St. in an area that was bereft of energy and people. It was a lonely spot, and his brand new art gallery wasn’t much more than “a little glowing oasis in what was pretty much an abandoned warehouse area.”

Today when he looks out of the building where his 20 North Gallery is now, at 18 S. St. Clair St., he sees the verdant outfield of Fifth Third Field where a half million Mud Hens fans each year have flocked since 2002. Huntington Center is a block away, restaurants are dotted in the blocks around his gallery, and art galleries are scattered all over downtown Toledo.

Buoyed by “blind optimism and youthful vigor,” this was pretty much the Toledo real estate developer’s vision for the downtown area when he opened 20 North in 1993. It was a good run, but on Friday Hillenbrand and artistic director Condessa Croninger are closing the gallery to pursue other interests.

Rather than this being a maudlin time, they both are visibly jazzed about the chance to explore a number of artistic interests and they exude energy and optimism.

“Its something we have been planning for awhile,” Hillenbrand said. “Although we didn’t want to make a big drawn-out affair of our closing, our 20th anniversary season was at least from my standpoint, a retrospective.”

Croninger said more than a year ago they realized that there was an appropriate symbolism in closing after two decades as they concluded “maybe we’ve come full circle. Maybe we’ve fulfilled the mission. So we planned this fabulous year.”

“I couldn’t imagine topping it,” Hillenbrand said. “It’s like a baseball player going out in his final game and hitting a home run.”

Creating energy
The gallery fit into a proven method of kick-starting moribund downtown areas hollowed out by suburban sprawl and economic bad times, Hillenbrand said, citing Soho and Greenwich Village in New York.

In both of those neighborhoods and similar ones throughout the country, entrepreneurs brought in galleries, restaurants, and entertainment venues to create new energy. The concept is that once there is a positive vibe, bigger economic development opportunities will arise.

At first 20 North was all by itself as Hillenbrand and artistic director emerita Peggy Grant mounted exhibitions by Toledo artists such as Michael Sheets, along with national and international painters and sculptors.

“There was not another business in this downtown area,” he said. “Spangler Candy had just closed and in fact there were few lights on in this part of town. There were often times when we would have an exhibit and we would be the only ones with lights on for blocks.”

An icon
Over time, the gallery’s business thrived and as various development pieces began to fall into place — most notably the wildly popular Fifth Third Field just across the street from 20 North — the gallery took on an iconic status among the city’s art denizens.

It helped that it was successful.

Croninger, who took over as artistic director a few years ago when Grant retired, was at that first exhibition by Sheets and she was thrilled by what she saw. “This is what I thought Toledo could always be,” she said.

“It really made art more accessible to the typical Toledoan. How many people went to gallery openings 20 years ago? And now thousands of people come downtown for the arts every month, for the Art Walks, and we’ve had thousands of people through our door.”

Toledo artist Steve Conine said Hillenbrand brought a passion about art to the job that was evident when 20 North mounted an exhibition. He works in oil on canvas and he said virtually all of the works he displayed in two separate exhibits there sold out.

“It was just kick-ass,” Conine said. “It was like being on stage, like being a rock star. It was the greatest thing.”

Sheets agreed and said that after years of hard work and national recognition, but not much attention locally, it was rewarding to finally get an exhibition in Toledo in 1993.

“I had been showing around the country, I guess as a prophet without honor in his own land. It was the first solo show I had in a Toledo gallery,” he said.

A Vision
For her part, Grant played an important role in setting the tone of 20 North, something that both Hillenbrand and Croninger mention about every five minutes in conversation about the gallery.

Hillenbrand called her a “cultural icon” and Croninger said that Grant’s mentorship was crucial in helping her take over as artistic director.

Grant was a long-time supporter of visual arts who oversaw Owens-Illinois’ acquisition of various paintings when she worked there. She said she was “thrilled” when she learned that Hillenbrand was opening a gallery 20 years ago.

“I worked downtown a long time before I became art director at 20 North,” she said. “I knew how important it was [to locate a gallery downtown.]”

She said among the highlights of working there was being able to organize shows like her long-running annual Black History Month exhibit and the annual Derby Days exhibit of equine art.

Looking forward
Over the past year, the gallery has featured a retrospective of 20 artists (19 of whom are local) whose works were important to 20 North, an exhibit of the work of renowned glass artist Tom McLauchlin, a celebration of watercolorist Walter Chapman, and an exhibit of the work of Abner Hershberger.

Friday’s “birthday celebration” will be from 6 to 9 p.m. and the gallery’s doors will close for good the next day. Reservations are requested, but not required to attend the event. Information can be obtained by calling 419-241-2400.

Once it is over, Hillenbrand said he will look forward to taking his first vacation in eight years, and investing more of his time in his other artistic passions, including theater. He also will begin looking for a new tenant for the 18 N. St. Clair St. space.

Croninger said she will spend the summer archiving 20 North’s records, which will be offered for donation to the Toledo Museum of Art or the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library, and then focus her attention on her interest in promoting visual literacy and her work with the Toledo Ballet.

“There’s so much more we look forward to doing, artistically and otherwise,” Hillenbrand said.

“There’s going to be that day after where we breathe that sigh of relief and then just say, ‘What next,’ with an exclamation point and not a question mark. That’s a nice way of looking at it.”



Downtown Toledo art gallery to close after 20 years TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) -
2013 Toledo News Now
It's Toledo's oldest-established fine arts gallery, and owner Eric Hillenbrand is getting 20 North Gallery ready for its farewell party Friday, to fondly look back at the past 20 years of art exhibitions.

"It always seemed like we were like an oasis. There really was not a lot around us in this area. Last year, there were probably 30 venues on the art walk, artist studios, other galleries and places that were exhibiting art," said Hillenbrand.

Just a block away from that gallery, the Art Supply Depo has been operating for the past two years.

"Artists need a place to work, but they also need a place to show their arts. The fact there's so many galleries in the area is a draw for artists, and also a draw for an arts supply store," said owner Jules Webster, who credits 20 North Gallery for helping cultivate a thriving downtown arts scene. "I'm a little sad to see them go, but I'm very thankful for the 20 years they gave the downtown community."

The diversity of art-driven businesses in the Glass City includes glass-making, which has been heating up for the past year at Gathered Art Gallery.

"We built the gallery where we can showcase our work here, have other shows of artists that make glass or make other things," explained owner Adam Goldberg. "Because of the community that already existed, we're able to work with that and build off it."

As the doors are about to close at 20 North Gallery, it's not being viewed there as a sad occasion, but rather a proud accomplishment.

"I think our 20th birthday seems like an appropriate time to just move onto something new," said Hillenbrand.




20 North Gallery is the oldest-established fine art gallery in the city of Toledo, founded in 1993.  The premier commercial gallery of the Toledo area, 20 North is located in the downtown Warehouse District and owned by the longtime supporter of the arts and downtown developer Eric Hillenbrand, under the direction of Art Director Peggy Grant.

Peggy Grant's influential career in the arts includes her own works of fine art painting and her curatorial positions for numerous regional institutions, including the Sculpture Garden of Ottawa Hills, Ohio; the Schedel Gardens in Elmore, Ohio and the creation of the corporate collection of the Fortune 500 Owens-Illinois corporation.  She also serves as the curator for the estate of her husband, painter Adam Grant.  Peggy Grant and 20 North Gallery represent artists from Toledo, Ohio, as well as across the United States, Russia, Great Britain and Europe. 

Celebrating 100 Exhibits in November 2008, 20 North Gallery has orchestrated many ground-breaking shows, including: The Baltimore Realists, (continuing to Midwest Museum of American Art, Elkhart, Indiana; The Butler Institute of American Art, Salem, Ohio; Evergreen House, Baltimore, Maryland; Washington County Museum of Fine Arts, Hagerstown, Maryland), Adam Grant: Figure Master, (continuing to the Toledo Museum of Art; University of Toledo; Collegius Maiues, Krakow, Poland), the Annual Black History Month Exhibit (the oldest, annual Black History Month art event in Toledo), and ten years of their annual Derby Days exhibit (featuring equine sporting art by artists around the world).

Since 1993, 20 North Gallery has represented nearly one thousand local, regional and international artists including:

Wil Clay, Toledo
Steven Conine, Toledo  
Joe Ann Cousino, Toledo  
Willis "Bing"Davis of Dayton, Ohio
David J. Eichenberg, Toledo
Edith Franklin, Toledo 
Adam Grant, Toledo and oland
Tom McGlauchlin, Toledo
Frank Morrison of Atlanta, Georgia
Kazimierz Pawlak, Poland
Jack Schmidt , Toledo
Joseph Sheppard of Baltimore, Maryland and
Pietrasanta, Italy

Previous Exhibits

Black History Month 2013: The American Experience
Art for All Souls: Our 20th Holiday Exhibit 
Nature’s Peace: One Man's View of Nature 
Walter Chapman Centennial: Celebrating a Career in Art 
Tom & Friends: a Tribute to McGlauchlin’s Legacy in Glass
20 North / 20 Years 
Black History Month 2012 
The works of Harry Sandler 
ScientificAmericanArtist: The Art of Richard W. Hanson 
A Retrospective, Phill Hazard's Top 40 Hits 
ARTOLEDO 2011    
Black History Month 2011    
All Gifts Great & Small    
Richard Reed: Proximity & Vantage Point   
Chapman & Stone: Lifelong Legacies in Art  
New Works Old Friends  
Derby Days 2010  
Adorning Glory: Jewelry by Kimberly Arden 
New Art: Tom McGlauchlin


20 North gallery
Art Submissions

20 North Gallery accepts artists' portfolios on an on-going basis.  We offer year-round representation only on a on a limited basis, and as exhibitions permit.  Most artist representation is part of regularly scheduled group and solo exhibitions.
We deal directly with artists and their representatives—We do not deal in resale of artwork from existing collections.
We represent art in all media, including painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture, glass, jewelry and photography.
Submissions may be sent by U.S. Mail, (Attn: Art Submissions) or may be delivered to the gallery in person during regular hours of operation.  Portfolios personally delivered will not be reviewed at that time.  Portfolio packets will not be returned unless sufficient return postage has been provided.
    20 North Gallery does not accept emailed submissions of portfolios.
Each submission must include:

  • a CD, DVD or 8”x10”, high-quality prints/photographs of up to 20 images of your work, listing dimensions, media, and retail prices *
  • an artist statement encompassing the included work
  • a resume including training, past exhibitions, and corporate/private/public collections
  • a one-page (maximum length) artist bio in paragraph format
  • current contact information

If accepted:

  • all work must be original artwork
  • all work must be currently available for display and sale
  • all work must be suitable for hanging/display.  All 2-D work must be in professional quality frames with wire mounts. (no saw tooth mounts)
  • shipping and insurance of accepted works are the responsibility of the artist
  • 20 North Gallery retains the right to distribute images of accepted works for the purposes of promotion of exhibitions and furthering potential sales

 If we are able to offer you representation, we will respond to your submission within 30 days.
*  The retail price of all submitted works must reflect the 40% commission to 20 North Gallery.

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