Jan. 8—ROCHESTER — Two years ago, John Guerin and his wife Julie purchased the corner shop in the Merchants Exchange Building. Now after carefully crafting the interior of the space, Guerin is ready to share his two greatest passions in life with the community of Rochester: art and music.

“It’s been my lifestyle since I was a little kid,” said Guerin. “I had a music store called Guitar Heaven in Austin, Texas, for a decade and I sold that in 1999 then the art kind of took over and I started painting full time.”

It was during this time of a “starving artist” when Guerin met his wife, Julie. Years later, Julie told John she wanted to become a doctor. After finishing med school at the University Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, the couple found out Julie would spend her residency in Rochester at Mayo Clinic, and they haven’t left since.

While their family grew after moving to Rochester in 2012, Guerin became a full-time dad and gradually began to paint less. By the time the Guerin’s youngest child Paloma was born in 2017, John stopped painting altogether as the family spent a year away in Cincinnati.

For years, many of Guerin’s paintings were in storage. Finding a place to display those works on which he had invested so much time and talent slowly became a priority again as his kids grew older.

“When we got to this place and I started unwrapping these paintings, I had forgotten that I’d done so much of this. I’m walking in here daily and just revisiting things that I’ve created and I feel pretty blessed to be able to do that,” Guerin said. “But it’s definitely for them, my kids and the people of Rochester, a lot more than it is for me.”

“With all the stuff that’s going on downtown, John’s art and music studio fits right in,” said Bob Heist, a longtime friend of Guerin’s. “It fits right in with adding more art, and when we met and started talking about him starting this business he told me, ‘This is a building, we can do something with it and make it into something of our own.'”

Guerin and his family have taken their time to assure their shop in the Merchants Exchange Building fits their dynamic, their vibe. You won’t find generic floor vinyl or the most common-selling lamps from big-box construction or home decor shops.

It was important for Guerin to find lamps that fit the style of his studio and he found them at his neighbor shop, John Kruesel’s General Merchandise. Funding the personal cultivation of the interior design was a challenge, that is why Guerin applied for a Destination Medical Center Grant fund, receiving $22,500 in September 2022.

Now that his many artworks, guitars and music equipment are on display for the city of Rochester to see, Guerin shared what he hopes people will get out of his studio.

“In downtown Cincinnati, every building has a mural on it, and it’s not the same here. I just wanted to add more color to the downtown Rochester scene and share what I have created over the years with the people, and eventually have my kids add their own works here,” Guerin said.

A grand opening celebration is planned for sometime in the Spring of this year. Guerin hopes warmer weather will bolster the crowd to come check out the downtown studio.

Guerin Art and Music Studio is currently open by appointment only. John Guerin can be reached at 507-258-4035.

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