Cover Story: Can You Feel Her Art Beat?

Suzanna Terrill's artistic staying power

May 9, 2002 at 2:06 pm
Wendy Uhlman

To Suzanna Terrill, power is knowledge.

"Art is an effort to create, besides the real world, a more human world."

— Andre Maurois

Art is rough business. Making art is hard, and so is showing it.

After the artistic showcase, there are bills to pay and the cycle of engaging the buying public begins again. None of this is new to Suzanna Terrill.

She started her gallery in September 1998, so thank her for being in Over-The-Rhine long before the post-riot-hangout was all the rage.

Terrill is in her element. She points out other good places to visit on Main Street and talks freely with whoever comes into the space.

And she knows art, having studied fine art and art education in college and worked for Closson's for 20 years. There will be no bullshitting about master painters of the Renaissance or Art Deco style if you don't know what it is.

What's Terrill's idea of power?

"I think power is recognition, education," she says.

"Power is knowledge. It must always be positive, although it can be negative. But you need both positive and negative to grow."

Of course, one must have a modicum of power in order to recognize empowerment. Is Terrill empowered? Oh yeah.

"I have a lot of good artists, and that makes me very powerful because I represent them," she says. "I have had shows that went well and shows that didn't go so well. I've also had shows that really surprised me! It's a learning process, so I'm learning, too."

Though the Lawrenceburg, Ind., native didn't grow up here and therefore wasn't fed on the local arts scene, Terrill sees powerful and talented artists popping up every day thanks to area schools and colleges.

"We have so many fine artists because of great schools like Mount St. Joseph, the University of Cincinnati, NKU," she says.

But she also makes sure that local artists travel beyond their homes and neighborhoods.

"It's about being in touch with your neighborhood and with Cincinnati and with the national scene," she says. "I encourage my artists to get out of the city a lot and show outside of Cincinnati because it gives them a broader base. I think a lot of artists will find success outside of the city."

Good advice to any new and perhaps uninitiated artist. Especially from a wise source like Suzanna Terrill.

So go to her gallery on some weekend. You'll see why she came and stayed.