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The Gallery Fills a Contemporary Art Gap in Downtown St. Petersburg

By Pamela Sosnowski

Although St. Petersburg is known for its beaches, fishing, and golfing, there was one thing that Darin Kucera felt the city was missing, and that was more galleries dedicated to contemporary art. So in 2013 she opened up The Gallery in the downtown area as a way to not only give modern local artists some attention, but to also creating a gathering space where residents could get to know the artists and their work up-close.

"The vision of creating a dynamic and highly unique art gallery space to the downtown was something that I felt was lacking," Kucera said. "The space lends itself to fine art and I wanted a place that would be welcoming to everyone regardless if they were just browsing or looking to acquire something for their collection."

The Gallery is located in an airy modern glass office building just a block south of Central Avenue. On any given day one will encounter an assortment of paintings, sculptures, lithographs and photographic prints by both emerging local artists and those that are internationally renowned. Currently the largest collection of work on display is by artist Timothy Raines who squeezes drops of acrylic paint on canvas to create portraits of racehorse California Chrome, auto racing imagery, recognized brand logos, and more. Shane Bowden, another notable artist, reminds one of the pop culture art of Andy Warhol and Jeff Koons.

One of the best ways to view the exhibits and potentially meet an artist is to come to any of the events hosted by The Gallery, particularly the ArtWalk which takes place on the second Saturday of every month from 5 to 9 PM.

"This is a great night to hop on the trolley and explore all of the galleries as they stay open late," Kucera said. "We usually have a featured artist present to talk about their work and have refreshments available."

The Gallery has stayed open late during past ArtWalks to show special exhibitions and live painting.

Another unique offering is Yoga in The Gallery, where yogis can practice an hour-long yoga class beneath the artwork. Classes are suitable for all levels and are held Thursdays from 6 to 7 PM and the first Saturday of each month from 10:30 to 11:30 AM. The Gallery may also be rented for private functions, whether it's a cocktail gathering or a large holiday party.

Open daily from 10 AM to 6 PM, Kucera and her staff welcome clients and invite them to get a taste of what The Gallery has to offer.

"The Gallery will expand your collection and cater to the development of your personal style and appreciation for cutting edge contemporary aesthetics," she said. "Our experienced staff is glad to assist with all of your curatorial needs."

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