Wheeling’s Clientele Art Studio helps showcase WLU student and alumni work

Lish alongside her work displayed in the Deck the Halls show at Clientele

Clientele Art Studio in Wheeling W.Va. is helping West Liberty University (WLU) students display their work and gain experience as artists and creators in the Ohio Valley area. The local business specializes in helping artists from the area get the exposure they deserve. Clientele hosts a large number and broad variety of events to help provide exposure. The studio’s mission statement on their website says, “Clientele was created in order to provide studio spaces for our artists to have a permanent place to work and a gallery to display their work.”

The overarching goal of the studio is to help local artists gain exposure and a stable backbone for their creative career. This has helped numerous WLU students and alumni to showcase their talent and skills. Several students have showcased artwork at the various shows put on by Clientele and many more have their creations available in the retail section of the studio.

Will Wallace, the owner of Clientele, started this journey back in 2014 after purchasing the building to help a friend moving back to the Wheeling area. The original plan was to rent the space to his friend and host parties and events on the side. The events quickly gained momentum and media attention which inspired Wallace to turn the space into the version of Clientele that exists today.

Since then, the studio has expanded beyond a party destination and has become a creative outlet for aspiring artists. It is known as a community hub where like minded people regularly come together. “Our main goal is to show people that these things can happen here and show the Ohio Valley that not only do we have an incredible pool of amazingly talented artists and a great school at West Liberty, but we have people doing full time art here already,” said Wallace.

As well as the main gallery, Clientele has a retail space where artists can sell their work. There are currently around 20 different artist’s work available for purchase including several West Liberty graduates.

Dakota Lish, a WLU senior majoring in creative art therapy has had her work displayed at Clientele on a few occasions so far. “I’m looking to have prints and stickers there soon! I have had work in a few shows such as Coven and the Deck the Halls show that was for charity,” said Lish.

Not only has Clientele helped Lish find a place to showcase her talent, but it has also helped her build connections in the local art social circle. “It feels really good to be able to share my work for others to see but also be able to see other artists as well. I’m very grateful that I belong to a community where people can share and connect,” said Lish.

“My work is always evolving and growing. It may not look the same as other pieces I’ve done but embracing the change is what it’s all about. As I find my footing, I’m glad to have a wonderful art community around me that supports and aids in the change.”

For local artists, having the ability to display work at the Clientele Studio provides a boost. Morgan Wiedebusch, who graduated from West Liberty in May 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in graphic design and a track in illustration has participated in many of the studio’s shows and has several items available in the retail section. She said, “Having my work at the Clientele Studio is always a blast! The opening shows are always loads of fun to attend. It’s always such a great feeling coming into the studio for an event and seeing my work there.”

The gallery changes their displays regularly, giving a wide range of artists the chance to participate. “The walls change monthly with a varied theme,” said Wallace. “Up right now is “Cold Start” which is pretty much all of the niche art around motor sport.” The display features work from two West Liberty alumni.

Alongside the art shop and ever-changing gallery displays, Clientele hosts a broad variety of events for the local community. The types of events range from Studio Ghibli movie nights to couples yoga. “I always recommend visiting the Clientele, especially on event nights. It’s a great opportunity to get engaged with the art scene and meet new people,” said Wiedebusch.

“Several events are held there such as gallery openings, dance parties, movie nights, yoga nights and brunch events,” said Lish. You can find a detailed list of events for February on the studio’s Instagram.

Clientele’s connection with West Liberty is strong as the studio is there to provide a source of connections for those entering the professional realm. Wallace is currently working with WLU faculty to set up internship opportunities for students that are part of the university’s art and graphic design programs. “I would love to see more of the school in general down here just because I’d love for people to see what we have,” said Wallace.

For more information about the shows and events at Clientele check out their website, Instagram, Facebook profile or get in touch directly by emailing [email protected]