Positive Spin: Restaurant Features Local Art


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Guests at Callihan’s American Pub & Grill are now being greeted by eight original artworks by Mike Spears, whose creations have earned numerous “People’s Choice” awards during the monthly Final Friday ArtWalk events at Grayson Gallery & Art Center.

“I think this is a neat idea and I hope it catches on,” Spears said of restaurant owner Tal Callihan’s plans to replace existing décor items with original art work by artisans who live in this area.

Spears, 41, grew up in Boyd County in the Summit home where his parents, Terry and Sandy Spears, still reside. He studied at Marshall University and later Morehead University for his masters degree, which was critical for his career as an educator.

“When I started college I kinda wanted to be a dentist, even though I was an art major,” he said with a smile and slight shrug of his shoulders, later adding he also considered officer training school and the U.S. Air Force. “I studied for it and failed.”

Spears is now in his 15th year as visual arts teacher at Boyd County High School.

“It’s difficult to try and teach at the level you want to … to get them to try and understand something complex. You’ve got to learn how to break it down.”

Spears said he also hopes to have works by one of his students, BCHS Junior Maggie Kinnel, displayed at Callihan’s American Pub.

“She’s wonderful – super smart and very talented,” he said, citing wide recognition of Kinnel’s portrait of the late Coach Bob Sparks. “Her stuff is a little more loose than mine. She’s a little more free with the paint, so we’ve got two totally different styles.”

Spears describes his art as “kinda realistic but not super realistic. I think sometimes I am more illustrative because it’s not all landscapes and florals. I paint what I like and not always what I think is going to sell.”

Spears said each of the eight paintings he has at Callihan’s were created within the last year or so, and are available “in the $120 to $150 range. A couple are more, but most are in that range.”

Tal Callihan said he is particularly pleased to provide a chance to enjoy art works as part of the experience at Callihan’s American Pub & Grill.

“I love it … I am excited for this change over. We are transforming it into a culture hub,” Callihan said, taking a brief break from his afternoon duties and wearing a T-shirt saluting artist Bob Ross.

“We want a transformation – an art transformation. We don’t want to be an art gallery, but a place where you can see art and enjoy a sit-down meal,” said Callihan, who has a longstanding and proven record of supporting local musicians and artists as well as small business owners.

Callihan said he hopes to partner with Grayson Gallery & Art Center to hang the works of more local artists on the restaurant’s walls, as well as providing space to practically any artist in the region.

“In fact, I am going to reach out to all of the art departments in all of the schools,” he said, adding interested individual artists are encouraged to contact him at Callihan’s American Pub.

“They can just call and ask for me. And, if I’m not here they can leave a message saying it is about displaying some art. I will call back.”

For more information about Callihan’s American Pub & Grill, located in the Kyova Mall on U.S. 60 in Cannonsburg, visit their Facebook page or call (606) 585-0586.


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Story and Photos by TIM PRESTON

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