WHO IS WGS?
William G. Scheele has lived his life immersed in the Arts and Natural History. He was born in 1948 in Cleveland, Ohio to parents Joann and William E. Scheele, who were both artists from the Cleveland area. He grew up with two younger brothers, John and Paul, in the woodland countryside East of Cleveland, in Chardon. His father became Director of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History in 1949 and young Bill spent much time among the wonderful collections from around the world, triggering visions of fabulous creatures and wild environs. After graduating from Hawken School in 1966, Bill explored higher education at Miami University, the Cleveland Institute of Art, and Ohio University. In the Spring of 1969, he was lured away from academia by his friend Jon Taplin, who offered him a job working as part of the Albert Grossman management team for The Band. This whirlwind of music business activity occupied the next seven years, with Bill taking intermittent breaks to return to art studies back in Ohio. When Bill finally left The Band in 1976, he returned to Cleveland and worked in commercial lithography, architectural graphics, and trade show exhibits.
In 1984, Bill established and directed a non-profit organization called the Cleveland Artists Foundation, dedicated to honoring the artistic heritage of Northeastern Ohio. He had first learned about the old Cleveland School of Art and it's wonderful teachers through his parents who had both attended the school. During the next several years, Bill curated numerous exhibitions and presented programs highlighting the finest of the "Cleveland School" artists, including William Sommer, Henry Keller, Frank Wilcox, Grace Kelly, Carl Gaertner, Paul Travis, Charles Burchfield, and others. By late 1988, Bill was ready to expand his artistic ventures and started his own gallery called Scheele Fine Arts. The new effort now included artwork in all media from around the world, by both historic and contemporary artists. Taking advantage of his experience and connections in the natural history museum world, Bill published a catalogue on Natural History Art in 1991, and began a global advertising effort that brought him international recognition.
As the fine arts market slipped in the mid-nineties, Bill reconnected with another old friend, Dr. Harold Gerdes, and joined his Centrak Lasers company. Once again he was immersed in the entertainment field and helped produce multimedia shows throughout the country. In July of 1998, Bill was torn away from Centrak by news of his father's cancer diagnosis, so he moved to the Portland, Oregon area to help his family. After his father passed away and his mother was re-settled, Bill returned to Cleveland interested in a new type of art gallery. In 2001, he started his second non-profit arts organization, the New Center for Art & Technology (NewCAT), dedicated to promoting digital creativity through exhibitions and educational programs. The inaugural exhibition in the Fall of 2002 brought an international collection of computer graphic art called The Digital Hall of Fame to Cleveland, the first time the work had ever been exhibited in the United States. Over the next four years, NewCAT presented work from the annual Macworld Digital Art Gallery; produced a forum and exhibition on Creative Industries at CASE University; and participated in the first two Ingenuity Festivals in 2005 and 2006 in downtown Cleveland.
The current art business operates as a multi-faceted venture, WGS Productions -Kokoon Arts Gallery. The production side of the business publishes giclee prints and greeting cards of artwork by artists represented in the gallery. Scheele also develops educational programs and curates art exhibitions.
The gallery side of the business, Kokoon Arts, exhibits and sells artwork of all types, from traditional to digital media. The art inventory is strong in local historic Cleveland School artists such as Frank Wilcox and Paul Travis, as well as natural history artists William E. Scheele, Charles R. Knight, Robert Hainard, Walter Anderson, John James Audubon and Alexander Wilson. Contemporary art is represented by regional and national artists Gary Spinosa, Donna Webb, Mary Wawrytko, Paul Jacklitch, Michael Nekic, Keri Gortz, Judith Brandon, Richard Taylor, Darren Waterston, Karen Kunc and Alfredo Arreguin.
The headquarters for WGS Productions - Kokoon Arts Gallery is on Cleveland's near westside in the Detroit Shoreway - Gordon Square Arts District in the former American Greetings Creative Studios, now known as the 78th Street Studios. With a number of other art galleries, artist studios, auction and music businesses in the facility, it has grown into Cleveland's largest arts center. Annual seasonal openings are drawing larger crowds of people to "Experience" 78th Street Studios, so please check out the offerings at 78th Street Studios.
You can visit our virtual gallery here: Kokoon Arts Gallery