Entrepreneurial Spirit | Lotus Art Center

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Dozens of entrepreneurs in the Mahoning and Shenango valleys navigated the challenges of the pandemic to launch a new venture, proving the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well.

For Growth Report 2, The Business Journal spoke with owners of six local businesses who shared their experiences. They include Devyn Bellamy of Geras Home Solutions; Amy Javens of Cycle Life Studio; Lindy Lauro of Lindy’s Lunch; Monique Davis of Beloved Guardians Home Health Care; Sara Lee Grandelis of Lotus Art Center; John McDonald and Joe Driscoll of Easy Adapter Inc.; and Benjamin Warren of Big Benz Towing & Repair.

Each will be spotlighted separately online.

Lotus Art Center | Sara Lee Grandelis

Having art and a welcoming environment is important during times like these,” says Sara Lee Grandelis.

The owner of Lotus Art Center had always wanted to have a space for people to create and appreciate art, as well as to have access to supplies, materials “and wisdom if they want it.” Grandelis opened Lotus Art Center in the Warren Plaza on Elm Road in August, after returning to Warren from Colorado.

“Moving back here I just felt like it was doable,” Grandelis says. “I was living in such a rural place in Colorado that I just couldn’t make it work. Here, there’s enough people and it’s affordable to do things.”

The community art center features exhibit space, and studio time for artists and art classes. It offers “a welcoming, creative space just to be and enjoy,” she says, where people can come in and look at art or create art.

On a Friday afternoon in mid-January, the gallery was preparing to open a Random Acts of Artists show. Other artists who have been shown at Lotus include Terry Polonsky, Alex Infante and David Wheeler.

“We’re still growing [and] trying to get more people in the door,” Grandelis says. “We’re doing OK.”

The future is hard to predict. “We’re in the omicron variant right now and still dealing with delta,” she says.

She hopes Lotus can remain open to the public while allowing the possibility of a virus spike that might limit use to artists using it as a studio space.

“We would still survive and at the end still be here to open again,” she says.

Read more of these stories of entrepreneurship over the next few days, or read George Nelson’s story in Growth Report 2.

Pictured: Sara Lee Grandelis returned home to Warren and opened Lotus Art Center.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.