A new cutting-edge gallery featuring contemporary works by ten of the state's top artistic talents will be opening at the end of August, in the heart of Old Town Bay St. Louis.
- story by Ellis Anderson
Fiber artist Kerr Grabowski says that the idea for the gallery arose late spring, soon after fellow artist Vicki Niolet and her family sold Century Hall (112 S. Second Street) to New Orleans developer Jim McPhaille.
Niolet and her family bought the building shortly before Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and after renovating for several years, opened in 2009. First named “Century Hall” and later “Bay Emporium,” the behemoth building featured a collection of individual shops selling art, antiques, fashion and home furnishings.
New owner Jim MaPhaille has kept the small business concept, although changing the name back to Century Hall. When the space that originally housed a gallery for Niolet’s work became available for rent, Grabowski and friends spontaneously came up with the idea of a cooperative. Before they had time to canvas for possible partners, the spots were filled.
“It came together really fast,” said Grabowski. “We had ten artists almost immediately,” noting that there were several other artists who would have been invited if there’d been more time and space.
Grabowski, who teaches internationally and whose Manhattan shows in the past have been reviewed by the New York Times, says that Gallery Edge will be devoted to high caliber contemporary work.
In addition to participating in the Second Saturday Artwalk, Gallery Edge will be hosting monthly art opening receptions on the last Friday of each month.
Smith & Lens Gallery (106 S. Second Street) and the Mockingbird Café (110 S. Second Street) made the evening a popular one with art openings, a night market and live music. Smith & Lens is currently featuring a show of work by Stacey Johnson, one of the new Gallery Edge group.
“By scheduling our openings for the last Friday too, we hope to add to the numbers of people attending,” says Grabowski. “Since our artists represent the entire Mississippi coast, that should help attract new art audiences to the Bay.”
“We want the gallery to be a piece of art itself,” she says. “The way it’s hung and the evolving nature of the work, even our organization. And right now, it’s coming together in the same way a piece of artwork does.”
“It’s tremendously exciting!”
Gallery Edge will be open in Century Hall six days a week, closed Monday.
Gallery Edge Artists:
(most names link to websites where you can see samples of their work)