A popular Downers Grove art gallery is starting another chapter in its new location in the downtown area.

Gallery's Choice recently re-opened for business at 926 Warren Avenue, just east of the Tivoli Theater, after seven years in its previous location at 1014 Curtiss Street.

Owners Rose and Bill Jarecki said the timing to move worked out perfectly as the lease in their longtime home was expiring and the Warren Avenue space became available in the spring.

"Just because there's space available doesn't mean it's the right price," Rose Jarecki said. "We wanted something that had nice walls and where we could move in right away. We knew we wanted to stay in Downers Grove."

The Jareckis started Gallery's Choice more than a decade ago, subletting space from a business in Plainfield. They moved to Downers Grove in 2006, operating out of what is now Another Round Bar and Grill on Main Street. They soon outgrew that location and moved around the corner to Curtiss Street.

The new Gallery's Choice lined with bright yellow walls is about 40 percent larger, which the Jareckis say provides more room for them to teach classes. One room in the rear is set aside for painting, to take advantage of the loads of natural light, whereas another room will be used for jewelry making, fused glass and for some storage.

The main room in the middle of the gallery also is used for classes and for the Jareckis to produce their signature custom stained glass, all hand-drawn and hand-cut. The front is dedicated to retail, featuring work from artists throughout the Downers Grove area and DuPage County.

"Now we're going to be able to do more simultaneously and have people be seated more comfortably," Rose Jarecki said. "Now we can have a watercolor class in the painting room and a jewelry class in the main room. Plus we can serve customers in the front for whatever we need. When we have the staffing, we can accommodate two to three things at once."

"We had 12 people here for our stained glass class, and there was room for more," Bill Jarecki said.

Students doing oil paintings on a recent afternoon raved about the new accommodations. Mary Anne Tegethoff, of Aurora, said she wandered into the gallery about a year ago to buy a mosaic for her granddaughter and has been coming back ever since.

"This has made a huge difference in my life," Tegethoff said. "I needed this."

Once they are fully settled, the Jareckis said they have their sights set on buying another kiln and expanding their class offerings, noting retail sales have dipped because of the economy while the demand for classes has spiked. In the meantime, they said they are happy to be able to continue their business in Downers Grove and that they are continuing to get encouraging responses.

"It means that we did the right thing and that the community really wants us here," Rose Jarecki said. "We really want to give back and serve the community."

cdrhodes@tribune.com

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