This year, Gallery MAR (436 Main Street) celebrates ten years of showcasing fresh art on Main Street. To commemorate the anniversary, owner Maren Mullin wanted to do something truly unique and special to connect art lovers with the artists and their work. That turned out to be a series of videos, appropriately named "Behind the Art," that offer viewers a chance to see the artists at work. “Part of the mystique of our artists’ work is what inspires them and how they define themselves,” says Mullin. “I wanted to be able to capture the feeling and emotion that goes into fine art. There are only so many ways that you can talk about artwork, the best way to experience it is to see it! These videos showcase our artists’ stories and allow current and future collectors the opportunity to connect more deeply with the artist and their work.” The series is expected to feature Gallery MAR artists and installations over the course of 2018 (check out the videos here).
In addition to producing the video series, Gallery MAR will also be hosting a celebratory group show in August to celebrate the 10th anniversary. The show, dubbed "Perfect Ten," which features the gallery's original artists, will run from the beginning of the month for three weeks with a reception planned for August 10 from 6-9 p.m. For collectors, the gallery also has plans for a private party replete with surprises throughout the night.
Here Mullin shares with us some of the trials and triumphs she's experienced over the years as a gallery owner on Main Street and what she's looking forward to.
What has been your favorite thing about running a gallery on Main Street?
I love the process of connecting people with artwork--that moment when they realize that they cannot live without a beautiful work of art. Working with and assisting artists is invigorating and always challenging. Each day is unique. I love opening the gallery on a chilly morning, shoveling the snow, and waving hello to other business owners. Being on Main Street offers a unique community and a fantastic visual presence.
Are there any particular shows or experiences that stick out from the past ten years?
My second winter we put together a show with three artists who are still with us and some of my favorites: Maura Allen, Matt Flint, and Michael Kessler. I would never put them together in a show now, but at the time their work was in sync. It's interesting how each artist has grown and developed on their own. We once had a client drain his (man-made) lake in order to cart a sculpture onto an island in the middle of that lake. The sculpture was of a life-sized horse made of corten steel and cedar wood.
Are there any particular challenges that have come up along the way?
Shipping can sometimes be a challenge! No matter how well you professional package and ship a piece, we are at the mercy of the package handlers as a piece makes its way across the country, or over the seas. Thankfully, there is always a solution when something is damaged and it's my responsibility to figure that out. And then there was the time a few years ago when the city tore up the sidewalk in front of the gallery for an entire month. Let's just say it was a rough month.
Why did you decide to do this video series? How did that idea originate? How many videos are you planning on making?
With video, the process and story of the artist can come to life. You can hear from the artist what she or he has to say and see them at work in their studios. After ten years, I wanted to better document what we do here at the gallery as well, from working with artists to installation. Several of the videos will be a "Behind-the-Scenes" look at gallery life and our projects, too. We are committed to at least 12 this year!
Why do you love showcasing local artists like Bridgette Meinhold and what’s it like seeing their work develop over the years?
Working with Bridgette Meinhold is especially rewarding because the two of us are close friends. A great day with Bridgette is a trip to her Brighton Estates studio and a hike up to one of the nearby lakes, with or without ending with wine! Not only is her work exceptional, and exceptionally popular with our collectors, but she is professional, well-organized, and a fount of creativity. I am very proud of our representation of her work and that we are the gallery who launched her career. I found her work in a different gallery, where she was an invited artist and had two figurative pieces. I bought one and still love it: it's bright green and has gold leaf in it. When we first began representing her, she was painting these precious tree pieces that had a very different look and feel from what she is doing now. A few months in, there was a huge leap in her work and she began creating her signature layered works. I'll never forget the first two pieces in that series. When she brought them into the gallery, we knew immediately that it was the right direction for her and she has taken it beyond my imagination to what you see today in the gallery.
What are you looking forward to for the next ten years?
We did a commercial project this year where we worked with a developer to put together a group of pieces for their building's common area space. The building is in Deer Valley, called One Empire Pass, and it is stunning. I would relish the opportunity to work with other developers to create an art program to define and enrich their spaces. I'm looking forward to meeting and working with new artists, and further enriching the connections that we have made with our artists and collectors.