Galleries reflect artistic eyes of curators
Two South Tampa galleries celebrate their longevity this month in different ways: One is hosting a celebratory exhibit of works by gallery artists; the other is opening a new location across Tampa Bay. For both it's a celebration of vision, verve and pluck. In 1987, Cathy Clayton opened the art gallery that bears her name at 4105 South MacDill Ave. Armed with a degree in art education from the University of South Florida and experience she gained from working a few years at a gallery in Tampa, she was equipped to plunge into the challenging market of selling art."I actually ended up representing a lot of the professors who taught me, like George Pappas; or professors who were there at the school while I was there, like Bruce Marsh and Jeffrey Kronsnoble," she said. Mark Feingold, who also has a degree in art education and 10 years experience in helping put up exhibits at the Tampa Museum of Art, joined Clayton in 1994. He helped promote the framing aspect of the business and rapidly moved into bigger jobs such as managing the gallery, curating exhibits and selecting artists. "Cathy and I share the same sensibilities about artists and art so she has always included me in her work," Feingold said. "We usually agree on things." One of the things they agree on is not to follow trends or fads. "I think we have longevity because we've consistently represented not only professional and talented artists, but we also consistently represented a certain aesthetic," Clayton said. "We don't represent an artist that we wouldn't have in our own collection. We never sold art as an investment. We see art as an investment in beauty and in the culture of Florida and in helping these local artists to thrive and succeed." A lot of the gallery artists have been with Clayton for 20 years — some longer. That kind of long-term presence was something Feingold thought about while conceiving the current exhibit which celebrates the gallery's 25th anniversary. Called "Now and Then," the exhibit includes two works by each of the 28 gallery artists. When possible, one was an older work and one a newer piece, to show progression through the years. Next to most pieces is a picture of the artist and a short statement they wrote about themselves. "I wanted to keep in mind that it was the artists who helped us get to 25 years," Feingold said. "We couldn't have sustained ourselves without that quality or consistency. This is a way to put a face with a name and give the artists another level of recognition." The exhibit is up through May 29 and can be seen during regular hours. For more information, go to www.claytongalleries.net or call (813) 831-3753. Robert Rowan opened Nuance Galleries in 1981 in a flea market on Waters Avenue. Today, in his gallery at 804 S. Dale Mabry Highway, he is guided by the same principles that guided him at the beginning. "I only represent artists that I believe in, and I have to like their work," Rowan said. Artists he is known for representing include local names such as Taylor Ikin and David Miller, as well as international artists such as Pino (Italy) and Alvar (Spain) This month, he is celebrating his success and longevity by opening another gallery at 2924 Central Ave. in St. Petersburg. The official unwrapping of the gallery is from 6 to 9 p.m. April 28 and is also an opening reception for the exhibition of works by Florida landscape painter Peter Pettegrew. It is free and open to the public. Learn more about this new gallery at www.Nuancegalleries.com.
Special correspondent Esther Hammer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.