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The Bellstone revisits Gallery 544

Robert Downes - September 15th, 2008
Marcia Bellinger will be bringing back some familiar faces for the Sept. 19 Art Walk in downtown Traverse City. Dan Oberschulte, former owner of Gallery 544, and many of the artists he used to feature there, will be the focus of Bellinger’s show at her Belstone Gallery.
“The Art Walk is a wonderful event, with all the downtown art galleries,” Bellinger said. “I do a show every Artwalk. Most are up two weeks to a month. This display will run through the end of October.”
In addition to Oberschulte, the “Gallery 544 Revisited” show will feature Mary Fuscaldo, Joe De Luca, Jerry Gates, Dorothy Grow, Dan Heron, Joe Stearns, Angela Saxon, Flora Stuck, Nancy Hoffman, Billie Hoxie and Julie Pearson.
Gallery 544 was located at 544 Eighth St., and Oberschulte displayed work by many local artists, focusing primarily on those who will be featured in this show. The idea for this show came about from casual conversations among the artists and Bellinger.
“The Gallery 544 people are all friends of mine,” Bellinger said. “We said, wouldn’t it be fun to do something? So I thought, I’ve got the place. Why not?”

SPARKLING GALLERY
She’s got the place indeed. Located at 321 E. Front St., Belstone Gallery was founded in 1986 by Bellinger, a retired English teacher. The first thing you notice when you walk in the door is the play of light and color. With windows on three sides, including transom windows extending all the way to the ceiling, the sunshine is reflected from the colorful glassware on display. The light literally sparkles from everywhere.
That’s just the way Bellinger intended it. “Lighting is very important,” she said. “And a lot of color. I thought gallery walls had to be white, but then I used some color.”
That’s certainly the case. In addition to the sparkling colors of the art work, the walls vary in hue from a rich chocolate to yellow to chartreuse. But rather than looking haphazard, the different colors only add to the appeal of the gallery. All of it reflects Bellinger’s carefree approach to art.
“I buy what I like. I like glass, so there’s a lot of glass. I’ve stayed pretty open to just about anything.”
And when she decides it’s time to change the color scheme, she’s the one on the ladder doing the painting. “I paint the walls to complement the art,” she said. “Here I can do anything. At home I’ve got a husband.”
Art Walk patrons pay $5 for an inscribed wine goblet, which they can take with them from gallery to gallery, where the various venues may offer refreshments. The money goes toward downtown art projects.
For more information, go to
belstonegallery.com or call 946-0610.

 
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