isters Holly Nelson, 25, and Erin Fisher, 27, grew up in their parents Platte River Printing business, so when it came time to look for a place to showcase local artists, they once again turned to their roots. Along with Erins husband, Todd Fisher, 27, they remodeled the front of the family business near Honor to make way for a new art gallery and named it for its location on US 31.
Benzie Countys newest art destination, Gallery 31, opened on May 6 to rave reviews. Holly has gallery experience from her work from the past four summers at Les Sirenes Galerie DArt in Frankfort, which features nationally-known batik artist Terri Haugen, among others.
I learned so much there and I always knew I wanted to open a gallery to showcase local artists. I just didnt plan on it happening quite so fast, Nelson said. The idea came to the family last fall and with a lot of rearranging and some remodeling, they all pitched in this spring to make it a reality.
We have been inspired by the endless beauty of Northern Michigan throughout our lives, Nelson explained. We wanted to give inspiration back to the community by sharing our talents and helping other local artists emerge. Our vision is to combine the quality of the big city with the small town atmosphere, giving people the chance to see amazing works of art locally.
All three are artists whose talents emerged early in their lives, winning recognition in high school and local and regional art competitions. Collectively, they have training and credentials that include fine art and illustration degrees from the Kendall College of Art and Design and Grand Valley University.
Northern Michigan is reflected in many of the works on display, from the colored pencil drawing entitled Fishtown, to the familiar Traverse City scene Downtown, to the photographs depicting the Frankfort Lighthouse, Sunset on Crystal Lake or Up Close Sunflower.
In addition to paintings, drawings and photography, Gallery 31 features a variety of mixed media. Since their opening, the owners have filled the space with some of the best local artists in wood, stained glass and fabric.
Its all so beautiful and professional looking and theyre so young, commented one customer at the gallery opening. The community has been so supportive and excited for them, mom Diane Nelson added, who staffs Gallery 31 for her daughters during the week. I just know theyre going to do great.