WHY . . . after retiring from teaching did I, David Smith, and my wife, Dale, choose to leave the security of our home and friends in Downers Grove, IL and start all over again building a business and creating a new home in Geneseo, Illinois?
Answer . . . In 2005, while waiting around for our daughter to checked out a college my wife, Dale, asked me if I would like to retire and do something else . . . or continue teaching until some day I drop dead in the classroom?
Together we decided it was time to consider a “Life Changing Alternative", which included moving out of the Chicago Area, purchasing a commercial building in a small town that we could rebuild to be our home and have a art gallery with me as the gallery’s resident artist. As time went by this ideas morphed and changed. We realized it would be wise to pear-up the gallery with another income generating sideline . . . bed-and-breakfast . . . tearoom . . . or maybe even art classes . . .
January 2008 We purchased a 2 story commercial building at 124 South State Street, in the heart of Geneseo’s historic business district. The building was built in 1886 and had good bones, however it needed to be gutted and brought into the 21st century.
Spring 2011 I retired from teaching and Dale and I moved to Geneseo. We lived in the construction zone, sleeping on the floor, and worked on finishing the store and a small apartment.
May 2013, The Smith Studio and Gallery opened their doors.
Stop in . . . . meet David and Dale Smith, visionaries and owners of Smith Studio and Gallery. We live above the Smith Studio and Gallery located in a commercial retail building built in 1886. Situated in the heart of Geneseo’s historic business district, right off route 80, just east of the Quad Cities, and near enough to Chicago, Peoria and Iowa City to make it the perfect day/weekend trip. When you come in you will greeted by Dale and David Smith and encouraged to wonder through our gallery and checkout David’s whimsical paper mache sculptures, enjoy the wide range of original artwork by the accomplished Midwest artist we represent, and review the wide range of art classes for adults and children.
When you are in our store you are in our home . . .
We enjoy meeting new people and encouraging everyone to Find Joy in the Journey!
David Smith is an award-winning artist and Illinois licensed art educator and has Masters degrees in Art Curriculum and Administration. For over 40 years David has taught at all levels, elementary though college. He has held workshops in India, Singapore and Australia for Very Special Arts an organization to help people with disabilities. He has been recognized as the 1994 Illinois Art Educator of the, 2011 Illinois Elementary Art Educator of the Year, and was honored with the National Illinois Art Education’s Life Time Achievement Award in 2014. This speaks to his dedication and professionalism in all that he does whether it is running an art gallery, teaching art, creating artwork or restoring a 130 year-old building.
Dale Smith, David’s better half, was a free-lance graphic artist in the Chicago area and an art director for a large international manufacturing company’s corporate mid-west marketing department. With her background in advertising she is the talent behind the Gallery’s printed literature, signage and website presence. You will usually find her in the upper gallery working on her computer.
Since opening in 2013 more art galleries and craft stores have opened on State Street, along with boutiques, breweries, restaurants, florists, furniture store, antique shops, and a wide variety of specialty shops. Now there is not a vacant storefront in the downtown business district. Many of new and existing businesses have restored and upgraded their buildings; with the help and support of City Hall. Both residents and visitors have taken notice of Geneseo’s historic business district rejuvenation, reminding everyone of the charm, history and business innovation that Geneseo continues to offer. In just a few short years “GENESEO IS A GREAT PLACE TO VISIT AND EXPLORE”.
Photos and more about our story will be coming soon . . .