New owner revamps Blue Horse Gallery

By Isaac Bonnell

The new year will bring a lot of new features to the Blue Horse Gallery.

Owner Christine Grinsted has been remodeling the 3,000-square-foot downtown art gallery since she purchased the business Sept. 1. For 30 years, the gallery has been a mainstay in the local arts scene — and will continue to be, but with some added amenities.

“It’s a well-established gallery, but I saw the potential to add some features like a cafe,” Grinstead said. “I think you have to have multiple revenue streams to make it in this market.”

The cafe is scheduled to open by the end of December and will serve coffee and wine, and have a light menu for every mealtime. The idea is to make the space more comfortable and incorporate art into everyday life, Grinsted said. Tall barstools line the window that looks out over Bay Street and pairs of plush leather chairs are placed around the gallery as thoughtfully as the art on the wall.

“We really wanted to change the gallery dynamic to make it a better place to hang out,” she said. “What we want to do is create semi-private places to enjoy art. We want people to be able to sit, have a cup of coffee and enjoy art. There are no formal lines between the gallery and cafe.”

The cafe space also includes a small stage for live music, which Grinsted plans to have three or four nights a week.

As part of the renovations, Grinsted opened up more gallery space and repainted all the walls to better reflect an increase in natural light. Several old storage rooms were converted to cozy spaces for showcasing art. Limited storage space doesn’t worry Grinsted, who is planning to keep a steady rotation of pieces through the gallery.

“Art isn’t doing any good if it’s sitting in a storage room,” she said.

Once the cafe opens, the Blue Horse Gallery will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday. For more information, call (360) 671-2305 or visit www.bluehorsegallery.com.

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