Artist Dana Oldfather Brings Fresh, New Work to the Campus District

Dana Oldfather. Photo by Dan Morgan of Straight Shooter Photography.

Dana Oldfather has been a fixture in the Campus District for many years, but you might not know it since she is almost always painting, framing or blogging quietly behind the scenes. However, Dana is quickly making a big name for herself in the Campus District as well as in the artistic world beyond.

I met Dana the same way I meet many great Clevelanders. I was introduced by a long time friend and associate, Manfred Troibner, principal director of marketing at Visual Evidence in Valley View. Troibner helps lawyers present their cases with clear graphics, charts, graphs and sometimes photographs. Dana, Troibner’s niece, was showing her work at Zygote Press on East 30th Street. Liz Maugans, another long time friend of mine and founder of both Zygote Press and more recently CAN Arts Journal, met Dana in 2010 while the two were jurying an American Greetings employee art exhibition. Dana was infected by Liz’s enthusiasm for the Cleveland arts scene.

Dana has shown her artwork extensively at Zygote Press and Bonfoey Gallery, both located in the Campus District. Oldfather's connection to Bonfoey, where she has worked for 11 years, helped land her on the American Greetings show jury. Oldfather’s "Current and Future Exhibitions" section of her website highlights current exhibitions spanning Ohio, from the Butler Institute in Youngstown to the Miller Gallery in Cincinnati. Dana’s resume includes representation in California, Texas, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia and even London, England. One of Dana’s most interesting recent art sales was to the Bellagio in Las Vegas. They were taking no gamble on this Midwest rising star!

Dana, a self-taught artist, has a very strong work ethic that was passed down by her father Mark, a life-long artist himself who was included in a few May shows back in the 1970s. Growing up, art was included in all daily activities. She was painting as early as four years old, still learning how to hold the paintbrush. Dana's father advised her, “painting should be a part of every day in a painter’s life, even if it is just a small part,” and she still takes this advice very seriously. Most of Dana’s Newburgh Heights home is full of art space: space to create, space to frame and space to blog!

Self promotion is one area in which I see Dana really taking her work to the next level. So many talented artists lack the motivation or the confidence to sell their work. The internet has helped Dana overcome that hurdle. Dana’s website is detailed and extensive. She has a Facebook page and regularly participates in dozens of art blogs. Dana even has her own line of dinnerware at Their motto: “you are what you eat off!”

While talking with Dana about her past, I learned that she first moved downtown 12 years ago at the age of 21. Dana lived and worked for three years in the Tower Press Building, our great incubator of fine artists within the Campus District! Connect to much more of Dana's work at her website


Dan Morgan

Dan Morgan is a photographer at Straight Shooter Photography, marketing and more. Their website is, but you can also find Dan at

Volume 3, Issue 2, Posted 9:45 AM, 02.05.2013