There is an opening that I will be gladly attending this Friday, April 25th, at the Principle Gallery in Alexandria, Virginia, a celebration of the gallery’s 20th anniversary as an Old Town fixture on historic King Street. The gallery first opened in April of 1994 on Cameron Street in a second-story space and moved to their present location in 1997, taking up residence in historic Gilpin House. Over the years, they have featured some of the finest in contemporary art, focusing on representational realism, and their reputation as a gallery of the highest caliber has grown, nationally and internationally, with each passing year. In 2013, the Principle Gallery brand expanded with the opening of a Principle Gallery in Charleston, South Carolina.
The rest, as they say, is history.
For me, I first came on board with an invitation from owners Michele Ward ( then Marceau) and the now retired Sue Hogan in early 1997, just as they were about to make their move to their present location. I had only been showing my work publicly for just two years at that point and had only been painting for a little over three so I was excited to find a spot in their roster. Little did I know how important my relationship with this gallery would become to my career.
I have written here in the past about the gratitude I have for the galleries with which I have worked over the years. I have worked with several galleries for the better part of two decades and each has been vital to the growth of my work and my career, providing me with reassurance when I am feeling less than confident and willing eyes when the work evolves. Each has provided me with intangibles that I cannot fully describe. My life would be so different without each of these galleries. I shouldn’t say galleries because it is truly about the people that operate them.
That certainly has been the case with the Principle Gallery.
Over the years I have worked with numerous wonderful people there, each of who has allowed me to let my work grow in many directions, always encouraging me and treating my work with respect. They always make me feel welcome as a friend the moment I enter the gallery and I think that is a quality that extends to nearly everyone who comes through their doors. You see it in the faces of many friends from the area who pop in just to say hello. That alone says volumes about them as people. It certainly makes the gallery experience they offer a much different one than most people envision. It is an experience based on making you feel comfortable and they succeed in every way.
I know that they have made me feel comfortable there over the years and for me that is saying a lot.
I had my first solo exhibit at the Principle Gallery back in 2000. That was the Redtree show that gave birth to my now trademark image. This year’s June show, Traveler, marks the 15th consecutive year I will have had a solo show there. It has been my pleasure to be able to grow with the gallery, to see it constantly strive to be better, to make itself more. It inspires me to do the same. And that, among all the things they have given me over the years in terms of encouragement and friendship, might be the greatest gift of all.
The inspiration to aspire to be more.
So, to Michele and her wonderful staff– Clint, Jessica, Pamela and Kris– I send you a heartfelt thank you and best wishes for many more years of success. Happy 20th!
See you Friday!