Adorned with heart, star, square and oval shaped windows, Impossible Art Store is more than just a store, but a much-needed home for local artists to come together as a collective. On Feb. 17, the store made its daytime debut to the public and transformed the space for a grand opening, featuring a sold-out showcase of local musicians.
On a normal day, Impossible Art Store sells the works and goods of local creatives displayed as if in a museum. Handcrafted wooden display tables and bookshelves are adorned with jewelry, glassware, pottery and books, along with clothing manufactured and designed in Cleveland, records from regional musicians and more. A long white table serves as a space for discussion and collaboration among the artists whose art adorn the walls.
The store prides itself as a space run by artists, for artists, to sell and create on their terms.
“We’re not like another really boutique store,” co-founder and artist Aidan Meany says. “We’re more like a museum that sells work, and is really doing so guided by the artists who are inside.”
Meany himself runs Found Surface, which produces clothes from recycled plastics.
Whereas most stores who sell art take a set percentage of each piece sold, Impossible Art Store allows creators to set their own consignment price in an effort to maintain a livable margin they can feel good about, Meany explained.
In addition, Impossible’s business model includes a $50 monthly subscription. A handcrafted membership card allows entry to 12 events a month, and gives discounts at neighboring establishments like Rising Star Coffee, Roaming Biscuit and Jukebox.
The name, Impossible Art Store, was derived from a “self dare” co-founder Jack Romer explains. Romer began designing clothing at 18 years old, but felt he didn’t fit into the world that encapsulated him — it didn’t believe in his creativity, he says.
“I wanted to create something, but I didn’t have a lot of people, I felt, could see it happening for me,” Romer says. “So I called it ‘Impossible’ because it was a challenge to the world — and a challenge to myself — that I can make something impossible, possible.”
Meany, 21, and Romer, 24, have known each other since childhood, growing up down the street from one another in Lakewood and attending the same high school. The pair share a passion for designing clothes.
Although they had known each other for some time, they didn’t have their first “meeting of the minds” until Romer bought a hoodie from a fashion show Meany put together as a freshman at St. Ignatius.
“I was always keen on his projects and interested, and supported him and eventually that support grew into a fellowship, and then a competitiveness that pushed both of us beyond what we can imagine for ourselves,” Romer reminisces.
In time, the store sprouted from the minds of Meany, Romer and their artist friends who felt the need for dedicated space for Cleveland artists.
Impossible Art Store is not a passion project; it’s a group of young artists making moves to ensure that their community can make a living through art, Meany explains.
“People don’t understand how many creatives and artists are in Cleveland and how beneficial the art scene can be for the city,” he says.
The store lives in Hingetown, a part of Cleveland’s Ohio City neighborhood, on the corner of Detroit and W. 29th. The location and large windows lend Impossible an unavoidable presence, capturing the attention of the hundreds of people who pass by. This proved to be true on opening day, as individuals popped in to browse the store’s selection.
“[The day] went amazing,” Romer says. “I think people are coming in, peaking, they are interested.”Find more information about Impossible Art Store at its Instagram page, @shop.impossible.