Jerry Gray

Jerry Gray

Multi-media Artist, Gallery Owner

March 4, 2013


Bozarts Fine Art & Music Gallery, Quest For Fire Studios


Artist and gallery owner Jerry Gray is a Toledo staple. He has been making a name for himself, and helping other artistic types succeed in Northwest Ohio for over a decade. A major force behind Tis The Secor, Quest For Fire Studios, and the owner of Bozarts Fine Art & Music Gallery, Jerry has no problem staying busy. He took some time to answer a few questions about his work and vision for T-Town.

Tell us more about some of your past projects?
In the beginning…

I've been working as an artist in Toledo since 2000. My first exhibitions were at Boogie Records and Sufficient Grounds both at West Gate.

I moved to San Francisco for nine months in 2003 where I first got my taste of selling art, set up on the streets there, namely because I didn't have a job for the first three months I lived there, then because I enjoyed it and the environment was ideal.

Back in Toledo:

I moved back after hiking for a month in the Sierras and moved into my good friend Kerry Krow's studio at the Feltman Building for a few months before moving into the Collingwood Art Center. Shortly after, I had my first exhibition there which was called "Dog Eared Diamonds" in 2004. In 2005, Kerry moved his Studio to CAC and we started painting and working on pop up exhibitions around town under Quest For Fire Studios and shortly after became business partners under the same name. That was when the "hustle" really started.

Setting up shows at all kinds of venues around town, most notably are probably Mickey Finn's Pub and onto Divas Restaurant. After a year and a half at Divas, Jim Zaleski owner of both Divas and The Secor Building invited us to move our studio there to the seventh floor. At the time the Seventh floor was bombed out. We agreed and I began to work with Jim and KC at the Secor to renovate the floor to house artist studios. This was an awesome project and by the time we were done with the renovations, I had lined up 9 tenants for the floor.

Tis The Secor:

Once we were there I approached Jim & KC about wanting to do an exhibition and the "Tis The Secor" was born. This is still one of the exhibitions I'm the proudest of. The first Tis was a major undertaking... I had invited and was able to include several major institutions, over 25 businesses and more then 40 artists all under one roof for a four-story holiday art and music event for all ages. Some of the institutions that participated on a variety of levels were the Toledo Museum of Art, The Toledo School for the Arts, The Arts Commission of Greater Toledo, The Glacity Theater Group, The Toledo Rep and The Toledo Opera.


In 2008 I moved into a broken down apartment and began renovating. In January of 2009 the furniture storage room that was two doors down from me opened up and signed a lease for the dilapidated space and began renovations. This space is now known as Bozarts. Bozarts opened in July of 2009 and is now into its 4th year of good times and great friends.


In 2010 Kerry and I teamed up again and held our first Q4F Studios exhibition in at the Toledo Museum and this past winter held the the second.  These were major accomplishments where for the first times that I am aware of, local artists were able to curate and hang an exhibition within the TMA.

What current projects are you working on?

I am currently working on an solo exhibition scheduled for April 5, 2013 at The Secor Gallery at 425 Jefferson St. Downtown Toledo. This exhibit is based off a two-month road trip I took this past summer throughout New Mexico, Colorado, Utah and Wyoming. I am very excited about returning to the Secor for this exhibition. At Bozarts, I am setting up and scheduling this year's exhibition schedules as well as getting ready to start "The Works" an annual event and work session that includes multiple artists creating working at Bozarts and exhibiting the work in April, coinciding with Artomatic.  

What advantages does being in Northwest Ohio/Toledo offer your efforts?

There are a number of advantages that I have realized about living in Toledo. First off, there are a ton of very talented, and very approachable artists and individuals here. Secondly, there are a lot of opportunities here. By opportunities, I'm speaking of taking advantage of what you recognize is missing around you. All you have to do is recognize what it is and figure out the appropriate steps on how to create/change it. Not that it's easy but with patience, an eye for recognizing opportunity, following through, and a lot of hard work, you can create just about anything you want to see happen here. Unlike a big/expensive city where it's to costly or closed off to even get a foot hold.

Tell us who or what gives you inspiration?

Empty buildings and open minded, forward thinking building owners.

Do you have a motto or favorite quote you try to live by?

Try to... when you wake up, get up and do something. From some Cheesy daily calendar.

Favorite place for local culture?

With out sounding condescending.... Bozarts.

Toledo’s “best kept secret” is . . .

Its potential.

My favorite place to chill locally is . . .

The Village Idiot and The Attic.

My favorite natural space in the Toledo area is . . .

A secret little spot in my home town of Delta, called simply "The Old Park".

When I’m not working hard, I can always be found at . . .

Chasing my friends around Adams St.

If you could change anything about the current landscape for creative, progressive people . . .

More living/work spaces/communities in downtown.

Name one person (living or deceased) who you would love to collaborate with.

Andy Warhol or... Rasputin.

Name a CD, book or website you can’t live without.

John Prine, Pandora and unfortunately, Facebook.

Give us 5 Desert Island Album picks.
1 Crop Circle, self titled
2 Tom Waits, The Early Years
3 The Staving Chain, self titled
4 Michael Trent, The Winner

5 James Brown, Greatest Hits

My biggest vice is . . .


I’d like to see __________ in Toledo.

A local cultural archives.

What’s the last dream you recall having?

I don't know but it always involves my teeth.

The last lyric that moved me was . . .

Do like the millionaires do... Put your stuff the market... And make a million too.

One movie character I identify with is . . .

Jed Eckert... Patrick Swayze, from the original Red Dawn.

The best gift I’ve ever received was . . .

My GI Joe Hover Craft.

My most inspiring moment was/is . . .

When I was hiking in the Sierras and sat down and meditated at over 10,000 feet for the first time.

I want my last meal to be _______________.
My dad's homemade spaghetti, my mom's pot roast, my lasagna, a Village Idiot pizza, rhinoceros horn marrow, flying fish fins, giraffe neck filet, grizzly bear bowels, Siberian tiger whiskers, vampire bat blood, and tarantula tongues... And a six pack of Hop Slam from Bells Brewing Company.


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