WINNETKA – Vibrant artwork set against crisp white walls creates a welcoming atmosphere at Vivid Art Gallery, the latest addition to the Hubbard Wood’s design district.
The new gallery, owned by Glencoe resident Cynthia Burr and curated by Martha Ruschman of Evanston, will be open to the public on Saturday, Oct. 1.
The warm welcome was by design, a deliberate effort to encourage people to visit the gallery and create more art resources on the North Shore. While many people feel intimidated by art and shy away from galleries, Vivid Art Gallery is delightfully appealing.
“We are open to everybody and we want it to be a warm and welcoming environment. We want it to be a place anyone feels welcome coming into,” Burr told DailyNorthShore.com.
The space is light and airy, with high ceilings and hard wood floors covered in oriental rugs. A broad collection of hand-selected artwork, representing an eclectic mix of styles and philosophies of artists primarily from the Midwest, is on display throughout the gallery.
The business partners hope people will decide to linger and enjoy the art. “We want people to come in and think about it. Look around and see what they like,” Ruschman said.
On display at the gallery’s entrance are paintings by Dorothy Stites Alig, an artist from Indiana whom Ruschman became acquainted with during her 30 years as an interior designer. “I just love her artwork because it is so layered,” Ruschman said.
Alig starts with Japanese Washi paper and then layers ink and acrylic to create very detailed contemporary art paintings. Alig is the gallery’s first artist of the month, a program that encourages regular infusion of new art at the gallery.
The paintings on display vary in scale and style — from a large oil canvas depicting a bright green and yellow cornfield by Indiana artist Debra Delbecq — to a collection of smaller digital artwork created by Steve Amon from images downloaded from NASA’s Hubble telescope.
And the gallery includes more than just wall art. Lamps made from rice paper designed by Greg Chann are on display throughout the gallery, as well as handmade jewelry by Barbara Boz and ceramics by Kyla Toomey. Burr said they plan to expand their collection of objects over time. Prices range from $150 to $8,000 for a canvas.
An exhibit in the rear of the gallery is reserved for local artists and will rotate on a monthly basis. The local focus supports the thriving arts community on the North Shore, Burrr said. “To pay our respects to that group we wanted to give them a space to show their art,” she explained.
Jane D’Angelo is the first local artist of the month with paintings depicting Chicago street scenes. D’Angelo is from Northfield and has a studio just around the corner from the gallery in Winnetka. “I am excited that this is becoming more of an art community. I am honored to be a part of their opening,” D’Angelo told DailyNorthShore.com. D’Angelo will be the featured local artist for the gallery during the Art Attack event on October 14, sponsored by North Shore Art League.
Burr and Ruschman have been friends for a long time and their shared enthusiasm for artwork is apparent. Burr has loved art since she was a child and continued to take art classes as she went on to a career in finance. She views opening the gallery as a perfect way to combine her talents. “It seemed like a great way to marry my interest in art and my business background,” she said.
When Burr noticed the empty storefront while driving down Green Bay Road, she realized it was the perfect space for a gallery and immediately contacted Ruschman. Ruschman has worked as an art teacher in Washington D.C., owned a silk screen design company and worked as an interior designer.
“All of the pieces just fell into place,” Burr said.
Starting Oct. 1, Vivid Art Gallery will be open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The gallery is located at 895 Green Bay Road in Winnetka, at the corner of Tower Road.