Business, Local News

Art gallery Oxford Art Exchange opens in Shops on Sterling

Flossmoor Major Michelle Nelson, right, helps cut the green ribbon with Oxford Art Exchange owner Kevin Walsh
at the grand opening celebration. Flossmoor Village Trustee Rosalind Mustafa, far left, and Producer Freak
owner Kristi Dinkins, far right, holds the ribbon.
(Nick Ulanowski/H-F Chronicle)

Oxford Art Exchange, a shop that specializes in framed, original artwork at an affordable price, celebrated its grand opening in the Shops on Sterling building in downtown Flossmoor on Thursday, Jan. 11.

The artwork at Oxford Art Exchange is less expensive than most artwork of its kind because the owner, Flossmoor resident Kevin Walsh, bought much of the collection at estate sales online and garage sales. The frames alone can be more expensive than the store’s price tag.

Flossmoor Major Michelle Nelson, left, with owner Kevin Welsh
at the Oxford Art Exchange grand opening celebration.
(Nick Ulanowski/H-F Chonicle)

Walsh described the feeling of looking at a good piece of art as “joyous and life-affirming.” He said he wants to share this comfort and beauty with the Flossmoor community.

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After years of collecting, Oxford Art Exchange was his wife’s idea, Walsh said.

“My wife finally said, ‘you need to open an art gallery. You can’t just keep collecting all this stuff,’” Walsh said. “It’s more than I can keep in my house.”

Walsh said he’s thought about opening a bookstore as well. Before opening Oxford Art Exchange, he worked as a librarian.

While Oxford Art Exchange primarily sells artwork, it also has a selection of vintage, hardcover books. Most books at Oxford Art Exchange were printed before a barcode on the back cover was the standard publishing practice.

In addition to books and original drawings and paintings, Oxford Art Exchange sells prints, sculptures, glass artwork, China dinner wear, gold-plated stamps and small trinkets.

The original artwork at Oxford Art Exchange includes but isn’t limited to reproductions of famous paintings from artists such as Vincent van Gogh, images of Chicago and its skyline and several portraits of jazz musicians.

At the grand opening celebration, Walsh was joined by other Shops on Sterling business owners, Flossmoor Mayor Michelle Nelson, Flossmoor village trustee Rosalind Mustafa and Flossmoor Police Chief Jerel Jones. After helping cut the green ribbon, Nelson gave Walsh a hug.

“It’s absolutely beautiful. There’s so much to take in,” Nelson said, describing Oxford Art Exchange.

Nelson said she wants community members to shop not only at Oxford Art Exchange but also all the small businesses inside Shops on Sterling. She said D’s Cookie Company, a homemade cookie shop that recently opened in the Shops, is “delicious – a little too delicious.”

“They’ve built a really nice community here where they watch out for each other and support each other,” Nelson said about the Shops on Sterling. “Their businesses are diverse enough where they benefit from being near each other.”

Oxford Art Exchange is in Suite 12 of Shops on Sterling, which is at 1056 Sterling Ave. The shop is open Tuesday through Saturday from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.

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