Artist Central to open for artists to create, show and sell their work

WICHITA — Clifton Square owner Jo Zakas and a group of other artists are opening a new space to create, show and sell art.

Artist Central will be at 5014 E. Central, which is on the north side of Central between Oliver and Edgemoor.

“Primarily it’s an artist’s studio where people can come and work,” Zakas says.

Other artists include Carol Cumberland, Barbara Niewald, Vicki McIlroy and internationally known artist and teacher Jim Gross.

Initially, they’ll have 900 square feet, which has been vacant since U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran had a campaign office there.

Zakas says there’s room to grow to 2,400 square feet.

“We’re looking for some additional artists, too,” she says.

The artists have a particular focus on abstract work, though they’re open to any kind of artists joining them, including photographers.

Art isn’t new to Zakas, who is best known for her Clifton Square retail center near College Hill.

“You know, I’ve been doing art since the ’80s,” she says. “It all started because I needed paintings for my wall, and everything I looked at was $6,000.”

Sculpting is a big interest for her, but more recently Zakas has returned to painting. Like the other artists, she’s a fan of abstract work.

“When you do abstract painting, it’s just like jazz. It comes from the soul.”

Not that she’s going to quit her day job.

“No, but you know I’m really having fun doing this.”

The artists hope to open in time for Final Friday this month.

At a time when arts funding is being slashed, Zakas says it’s even more important to celebrate and support art.

“We need all the arts we can come up with.”