Art and Soul in newest gallery

Santa Brink understands the wealth of talent here

Santa Brink, photography by Ellie Bogue

Fort Wayne’s newest art gallery just oozes class and sophistication. Located at Jefferson Pointe on Fort Wayne’s southwest side, Artworks, the Galleria of Fine Art is backed by local philanthropists Ian Rolland, Keith Busse and Bruce Dye.

Headed by artist Santa Brink, the gallery occupies the 6,500 square feet that was the former home of The Gap fashion store, but little remains of the retailer. There are three gallery spaces, each named for one of the benefactors, and Brink said nearly every artist represented there is local to Fort Wayne or Northeast Indiana.

“They’re local, but they sell nationally and internationally,” Brink said. “We’re probably the best (gallery) in Indiana. With what we carry, people walk in and say, ‘Am I in New York?'”

The gallery has a distinctly modern feel, yet the art is displayed museum style, with muted walls setting off each canvas or sculpture. The majority of works are paintings, but works in other media are welcome.

The walls are lined with acrylics and oils and beautiful modern representations of each artist’s vision. The exhibits change every 30 to 60 days, Brink said, because she wants to keep the works fresh.

“We’re not getting recycled work,” Brink said. “We’re getting (artists’) new stuff. … People in Fort Wayne have a tendency to buy (art) in New York or Chicago. They don’t understand the wealth of talent we have in Fort Wayne.”

The goal, Brink said, was to offer “innovative, trend-setting (art) of impeccable quality, introducing the community to originals and also affordable pieces with quality rivaling that of major metropolitan areas,” according to information Brink provided.

Artists like Karen Moriarty, Vicki Junk-Wright, David Buenrostro and Nazar Harran have shown at the gallery, and Tim Brumbeloe and Steve Vorderman will be on display in March with a collection of works dubbed “Biking the Trails.” A retrospective of Karen Thompson is in the works, as well.

Lest you think this is a gallery for grown-ups only, think again. The gallery offers painting classes on the weekends for children, focusing on names like Andy Warhol, Paul Cezanne, Marc Chagall and Claude Monet. Each three-week class helps children understand and practice not only painting techniques favored by each artist, but the history of the art itself. There are also art classes for adults.

“The more opportunities for art galleries is best for everyone,” Brink said. “Art feeds the soul, and we need that fed right now.”

First appeared in the March 2014 issue of Fort Wayne Monthly.


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