–by Linda Szyskowski
PUBLICATION DATE: March 17, 2020
Dani Fuller is a whirlwind of energy and creativity. A very hands-on person, she has loved to build things since she was a kid growing up in Northwood, Ohio. The middle child of three, Dani recalled, “I was so lucky to be raised to feel and experiment. I was always creating or building something. My parents were very loving and real. My mom could make the simplest moments magical and unforgettable.”
Dani played sports and was a member of the marching band in high school, but her big love was art. At 18 she was awarded a full scholarship to Savannah College of Art & Design but decided on The American Academy of Art in Chicago — a smaller school that was structured and traditional — where she felt more comfortable.
After graduating, she stayed in Chicago for 12 years and did a little bit of everything, from freelance work for corporations and agencies to giving private art lessons and working as a nanny to help pay the bills. “I wanted to be an art director,” said Dani, “but that wasn’t happening, so when I saw a position open at River Centre Clinic in Sylvania, I applied and was hired. They really wanted an artist in residence, so I had to put a body of work together. I traveled extensively telling the Centre’s story and promoting the healing power of art. My work was well received and that felt awesome. That gave me the confidence I really needed then.”
In 2014, River Centre was approached about purchasing the American Gallery on Sylvania Avenue, and Dani was asked to run the new gallery that would reflect The River Centre’s mission. She agreed only if it could be in downtown Sylvania and integrated into the community. The old Irv’s Auto Parts storage facility was completely renovated for the new space.
“Scott Hudson was a big mentor to me during this time,” recalled Dani. “He approached me about doing something together to promote the arts here, and the Red Bird concept was born. The first two years, Red Bird was on its own, but eventually the city got behind us and helped with funding. We’re very proud of how far we’ve come and the public interest we’ve been able to build for the arts and downtown businesses through Red Bird Art Walks. It’s now four years old!” After the owner of River Centre retired, Dani became sole owner and the gallery was renamed Fuller Art House. She downsized the space to better fit her needs and did a lot of the work herself, including building tables and shelving.
It’s hard to believe that this charismatic tour de force ever struggled with self-consciousness because of her height when she was younger. She was not one to call attention to herself, but through her life and career journey, she has learned to embrace big and bold and her last name. “Now I am crazy in love with living big and full and loud,” laughed Dani. “And I am dedicated to helping others find that in themselves and realizing that each of us has a very special, personal mark to leave on the world. I believe that is my ultimate mission.”
Sylvania Advantage and Creative Oxygen are very pleased to feature Dani Fuller who has brought so much to the arts in Sylvania and to the downtown area. She certainly does it fuller!