Update 2020: Bluestone Fine Art Gallery is unfortunately permanently closed.
Having operated for only 3 years, Bluestone Fine Art Gallery is a fairly new and welcome addition to the Old City district of Philadelphia. Owner Pam Regan’s love for art and her gallery are clear, and it is that personal devotion that makes Bluestone such a prize for any art lover. It is free and accessible to anyone strolling by, and on First Fridays the gallery kicks it up a notch with new artwork and displays. Pam offers both regular business hours and private appointments to fit the perfect piece to each client at an affordable price. Best of all, the gallery features prominent and up-and-coming artists within the Philadelphia region.
Pam was kind enough to tell us a little about her gallery, her art philosophy, and what makes working in the art world so rewarding.
You started Bluestone Fine Art Gallery fairly recently, in 2011. What inspired you to start your own gallery?
It was more of a situation, rather than an inspiration, that led me to opening an art gallery. My sister died at the age of 48 in 2010 from breast cancer. She and I shared the strongest of bonds and when she passed, I was lost. My husband knew that I needed a reason to put one foot in front of the other to restart my life. He was the one who came up with the idea of opening a gallery. We always admired original art and we had a close friend that we asked to partner with us. Opening any new business can be very intimidating, and in the end I moved on by myself to open Bluestone Fine Art Gallery. The gallery has given so many rewards, but the most important one is that I am enjoying life once again.
At 2nd and Quarry Street, your gallery is set in the Old City District, a well-known area for artists and galleries. How important was the surrounding community to your decision to open there?
Well, our first location was on the corner of 3rd St and Vine, right by the Painted Bride. I loved that location, but we didn’t get the needed foot traffic. So after a few years we moved to our current location on 2nd St. Now, we are right across the street from the well known Clay Studio. Yes, this is a better location. We feel more in the middle of things. But I still miss our first location.
First Friday is an Old City tradition. How does Bluestone participate?
Each month, we host new exhibitions that usually start on the First Friday of the month. Since the gallery has a street level and a lower level, we usually have two exhibitions. On the street level we feature a solo artist and on the lower level we feature a group exhibition.
What has been your biggest challenge in establishing yourself as a gallery owner?
I think to purchase an original work of art, one must have trust in the gallery and its artists. This trust takes time to establish. (I think that is why many galleries close soon after opening their doors.) Over time, we are building a strong reputation and clients trust that Bluestone Fine Art Gallery is the place to go to purchase quality, appropriately-priced original art.
What has been the greatest reward?
The greatest reward is the whole journey. I’ve gotten to choose my path. As a result, I work with amazingly talented and kind artists, which in turn attracts incredibly wonderful clients. So it is my job to match my artists’ talent to my clients’ needs. If I had to choose the greatest reward, it is when a client has chosen an artwork and we take it to their location for installation. Knowing that the artist will be so happy to see a photograph of their art in its final destination, and knowing that when I leave the client’s home they will smile every time they enter the room, is an awesome reward.
In your past, you were a teacher. What do you feel like you can teach others about art with your gallery?
I would say that my teaching background has taught me to teach open-mindedness. As a first grade teacher, I was always working with the children to respect and appreciate one another. In the art world, there are those who feel they know what is considered best. I don’t so much as teach, but through my actions I work with artists, clients, and fellow colleagues to respect and appreciate one another.
Your gallery features a number of different mediums, including paintings, ceramics, and sculptures. With so much variety, can you put a definition on what you consider art?
I do not have an academic background in art. My undergraduate degree was in business and English, and my graduate work was in education. So when you ask what I consider art, it is an answer from my heart. Art is a feeling that stirs inside of you when you observe the world around you.
Do you have any final words to readers who are looking to expand their horizons in the art world?
This is your hardest question. I’m not sure I have an answer for your readers. I know that for me, getting out there and seeing what is going on in the art world helps me to expand my horizons.