When you walk into Baldwinsville’s Canal Walk Cafe, you’re surrounded by the talents of local artists in a variety of media: culinary, crafting and paintings just to name a few.
What you may not know is that one of those artists responsible for the eclectic and eye-catching decor is also involved in dishing up your palate’s preference.
Meet your server, Jackie Colello, a gifted painter whose passion involves another kind of palette: color.
She found her niche in college, but wasn’t cognizant of her skills until recently.
“I’ve always been creative. I’ve always created my own cards [and] presents, so let me just dabble in this and see what it’s about,” she said of a painting class she took a few years back as a school elective. “I took it and I was horrible. I was the worst one, and by the end of the semester, my teacher was encouraging me to enter shows and stuff. I was like, ‘You’re crazy.’ I didn’t see what she saw.”
Colello moved to Florida, then California, before returning to Central New York a little more than a year ago. Raised in Liverpool and a graduate of Fayetteville-Manlius, she came to Baldwinsville to be with her mom. She had finally overcome a long history of alcohol abuse through rehabilitation — and faith restored.
“When I was struggling with alcohol, I didn’t know who I was. I was so lost,” she said. “I had a good influence from my mom, but I didn’t know who I was. I go to God now.”
Living in Baldwinsville for the last year has been ideal for Colello, particularly because it’s here where she is realizing her true vocation.
“It was just a perfect place for me to bloom,” she said of B’ville. “Everything is just so tightly knit. I love how everyone looks out for each other. They know each other [on a] first name basis. I love how the people in the post office know you ... but I was still discovering Baldwinsville. Though I have a few friends here, what do I do with my extra time? That’s when I started to dabble in painting.”