About the Store...
Q: Why did you decide to open a gallery? How long have you been open?
A: I have a B.A. in Art (Design) from the University of Iowa and spent fifteen years in sales and marketing -- mostly print media -- before finally moving into the gallery business. I have always loved art and it was a life-long goal to open Gallery Fifty. What I hadn't realized during this time is what an asset that a background in sales and marketing would be to my new profession. I'm sure I would have failed miserably if I tried to do this right out of college.
My interest in craft has developed -- mainly as a collector -- over the past twenty years. It started with glass and grew to include ceramics, fiber and then finally paintings and assemblages. Of course, my first love has always been studio jewelry.
Q: Describe your gallery, the work you carry, etc...
A: Our reputation has always been for contemporary or abstract art, but because we're housed in a 125 year-old former insane asylum, I also gravitate toward work that honors or complements the history of the building. Themes of antiquity and mystery, work created with aged materials, "found art" and recycled or repurposed pieces are given special prominence.
I'm opening a new gallery downtown in September and will be offering more refined work there. All of our fine jewelry will be featured there, in addition to higher-end glass, ceramics and fine art.
Q: Are your products exclusively handmade?
A: Yes, I'd say 95% of our work is handcrafted or produced in the artist's studio. The other 5% are items produced by American designers.
Q: Do you represent local or international artist/designers?
A: We named our gallery, "Gallery Fifty" because we represent artists and designers from all fifty states. That being said, we feature mainly local or regional artists with the wall art in the gallery. I also present an exhibition series showcasing local talent bi-monthly.
Q: What is your price range of the products you sell?
We have products starting at $12 all the way up to $10,000. For fine art, our best-selling price range is $300 - $700. For studio jewelry it is $150 - $500. We offer a great selection of gifts in the $45 - $125 range.
Q: Do you have special events? ie: First Friday? Exhibitions/openings? Trunk shows?
A: Like I already mentioned, we present a bi-monthly exhibition series in the show space adjacent to the gallery. With approximately 500 linear feet of wall, it's the biggest exhibition space in northern Michigan. We also host about 5-8 jewelry trunk shows a year.
-What's happening now?
Alex Sepkus Jewelry Trunk Show, August 14 - 15, 2009
"Winds of Change" Fiber Artists Coalition Show from September 1- October 31, 2009
Q: Do you offer special services? ie: wedding/baby/gift registries, shipping, gift wrapping
A: We always offer complimentary gift wrapping and have a "Wish List" gift registry available. We also offer "no hassle" shipping services.
Q: Do you sell online?
A: We don't currently offer a shopping card check out system, but we offer on-line buying through the blog portion of our website. Just call or email to order.
Please return to read the second half of my interview with Chrisitie...