Makes History as Staffords Gallery
By Kristi Kates
Getting creative with an historic building was a challenge at first for Staffords Hospitality in Petoskey.
Staffords purchased the former Longton Hall Antiques building in the fall of 2007, as a natural addition to its Perry Hotel, according to Staffords Lisa Wilbur. Located adjacent to the Perrys parking lot, ideas on what to do with the building were many, but a decision had yet to be made.
There were many things to consider; the building itself, for one, was unique in that it had been built in the late 1800s as an ice house, meaning it carried plenty of history as well as interesting architecture and antiques within.
As a member of the Historic Hotels of America, Staffords felt that it was important to continue to tell the story of hospitality in Northern Michigan, Wilbur says. Wilbur, who had been an art consultant for the past six years, met with Staffords business manager David Marvin, and the two of them saw the potential of a gallery in the ice house space. A few renovations later, and Staffords Gallery of Art and History was opened in June 2008, with Wilbur installed as gallery manager.
HISTORY AND HOSPITALITY
The Gallerys goal is to offer a great variety of fine art, with a selection varying from traditional to contemporary works to meet the style of a collector or first-time art buyer, Wilbur says.
The building offers a look back into Petoskeys olden days. Guests can still walk through the freezer doors of the ice house, and into different rooms that Wilbur says still have the original glazed block walls, ice chutes, and delivery entrances.
All of these unique characteristics make the perfect backdrop for displaying art work, and our Hall of History room also showcases a collection of photos and artifacts representing the history of downtown Petoskey from the late 1800s to the early 1900s, with emphasis on the 22 hotels that were located downtown.
MUST STOP SPOT
Representing 45 Michigan artists, from established to new and emerging talents, Staffords Gallery has become a place that both locals and out-of-town guests frequent when looking for new artwork.
A wide range of mediums, styles, and prices are available at the Gallery as are many of Northern Michigans most popular artists. Wilbur says that the most popular artworks so far include Todd Warners whimsical sculptures; Kevin Bartons brightly-colored paintings; Mimi Prussacks birch trees in oil and wax; George Peebles contemporary landscape paintings; and Kathleen C. Fritz giclee prints.
Photography, pottery, handblown glass, and custom jewelry are also represented, as are display antiques and a range of special events slated to further introduce people to both the Gallery itself and the local art scene.
Special events over the year will include a Gallery Wine Down Hour on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings (4 p.m.) in the fall; Staffords Featured Studio Artist events, in which artists will set up to paint within the gallery; a Perry Paint-Out in which select artists from the Gallery will paint plein-air style in the Garden Veranda, followed by an auction; and participation in Petoskeys Gallery Walk in June.
For more information on Staffords Gallery of Art and History, visit www.staffordsgallery.com, or telephone 231-347-0142; the Gallery is located directly next to Staffords Perry Hotel at 118 Lewis Street in downtown Petoskey.