River Gallery opened its doors ten years ago and has been nourishing the arts community of Southeastern Michigan ever since. Representing many local, regional and national artists the gallery boasts a reputation of producing 6 exhibitions annually to critical and commercial success. Over the years, not only has the River Gallery brought art to many residential, corporate and healthcare spaces, but also has curated numerous off-site exhibits at a variety of locations, from Rackham Graduate School at the University of Michigan, to outdoor sculpture exhibits at private residences. The gallery designs and produces “Sculpture Walk Chelsea” an annual outdoor rotating sculpture exhibition in the city of Chelsea, MI. River Gallery is responsible for producing many arts and culture events throughout the area, such as “Sounds and Sights on Thursday Nights” and the Artist in Residence program in conjunction with the Chelsea District Library.
Our aim is to provide a place for participation and appreciation of the arts through rotating exhibits, musical performances, film screenings, performance art and artist workshops.
Patti Schwarz, Director
Patti Schwarz co-created River Gallery in 2000 in order to showcase the art of her husband, the sculptor and art educator John Schwarz. Patti, at that time, was operating “Great Impressions” her successful graphic design firm from a spacious downtown Chelsea second story historic site, when the space seemed to call out “how about some art?” Being agreeable by nature, not only did Patti exhibit John’s art, she and a colleague invited their friends and former art professors to also display their art. The exhibits were highly attended and visitors began to acquire the paintings and sculptures on display. River Gallery soon became one of the premier art centers in Washtenaw County and Southeast Michigan. At the urging of local artists and art supporters Patti formed a business partnership with art lover and entrepreneur, Deborah Greer. Together they completed a major renovation on a large scale, historic downtown site, the current home of River Gallery. Along with Deborah, Patti helped the gallery expand its services to include the management of corporate, healthcare, university and community exhibits and projects. Patti has created and operated successful businesses since the age of 22. Her organizational skills and her ability to teach and lead others are exceptional. Patti’s artistic passion and formal education (a BFA from the University of Michigan) is in graphic design and marketing. She designs the gallery’s stunning exhibition cards, and manages the organization’s public relations. Patti lives in the City of Chelsea with her husband John and their two children. Community engagement is important to her and she is an active member of the DDA, a founding member of Sounds & Sights,. Patti developed and manages the highly successful “ScultureWalk Chelsea”, an annual rotating public art exhibit located in the downtown district of Chelsea, MI. .
Deborah Greer, Director
Deborah Greer formed a business partnership with Patti Schwarz in 2003 and with private investment and securing a line of credit, she was able to assist River Gallery to fully renovate and move into an historic, 1898 downtown Chelsea site. The gallery hosts major art exhibitions on their first floor level for local, regional, mid-career and emerging talent. The second level houses artwork in all media by artists the gallery represents and River Gallery also frequently features guest artists. Because the site is spacious, light filled and acoustically amazing, River Gallery has hosted and co-produced music, dance, poetry, film screenings theater, corporate and non-for-profit fundraising events. Deborah considers personal investment and collaboration with other organizations essential to developing a vital art business and in making a major contribution towards the creation of local culture. River Gallery has recently participated in the development of a number of healthcare and corporate art projects/acquisitions, and the gallery has produced off-site exhibitions for corporate and university clients. Deborah has been invited to act as a consultant for library, school and university projects focused on the visual arts. She has a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Michigan and taught for 8 years in their MSW program. She served on the curriculum development committee. Deborah has a special interest in community art, art as a medium for social engagement and economic development. She coordinated a teen pregnancy prevention program, utilizing the arts, for the Annie E. Casey Foundation. She served on the Board of Directors for the Arts Alliance of Washtenaw County and the Chelsea Center for the Arts. She lives in Ann Arbor, MI.