An Eye for Art
By Julie Irwin Zimmerman
Every item in Cockerill Gallery, Vickie Cockerill’s eponymous store on Hyde Park Square in Cincinnati, reflects its owner’s
discerning taste, honed over a career in advertising and travels in the U.S. and abroad. Cockerill, a 1968 graduate, specializes in contemporary art jewelry and art glass, but the store is full of finds that happened to catch her interest: old African masks, Peruvian art, jewelry from Korea and Japan, all unified by Cockerill’s keen eye.
“We know all these artists and deal with them personally,” says Cockerill, whose degree is in business administration. “It’s fun to go out looking for art, and it’s fun to sell.”
Cockerill admits that retail is a wild ride in this economy, and her late husband Joe had to talk her into opening the gallery in 2002. She had owned a Cincinnati store called The Eye Opener in the 1970s and travelled internationally, three months at a time, to stock it with jewelry and other imported items. The Cockerills later worked together in advertising; Joe was a fine-art photographer and cinematographer who directed commercials. Their work prompted them to move, first to Miami and later to Richmond, Va., before resettling in Cincinnati.
Last year, the store Joe Cockerill had convinced his wife to open turned out to be an unexpected source of comfort to her. “I’ve met great people over the years who were so kind to me when Joe died,” she says. Now the gallery’s customers and artisans provide an outlet and a purpose—to find and collect beautiful things into an exquisitely curated collection.