St. Petersburg real estate mogul-ette and owner of Times Square property company, Maryann Lynch, has turned what used to be Fire Station Number Three, a 3,200 sq. ft. building from the 1940s into Station Number Three, St Petersburg's newest Art gallery. Ms. Lynch titles herself as "creator", and has four administrators, including Thomas Hamilton (musician), Tim Thompson (director of sales & rentals), Amy Swanson (?) and the inimitable, one and only JoEllen Schilke (owner of the Globe cafe', hostess of the WMNF radio art show, gallerista and local Diosa).
On Station Number Three's Facebook page, in the discussions area, JoEllen sagely asks: " What is the purpose of an Art Gallery?". I know this is not a rhetorical question coming from Jo Ellen. Now is the time to go there and contribute your ideas.
Saturday evening, Station Number Three opened its doors to the public. The spacious building is "finished" in industrial chic, which is to say that it looks raw, with bare brick, pipes, conduits and all the other things that normally lie hidden behind wallboard exposed. The building was owned by the Urban League for years, and used as storage. Ms. Lynch had the place steam-cleaned then clear-coated (just like one's car) with polyurethane.
It was a first-class opening, with delightful music (provided by Tom Hamilton, one of the directors & Wilder duo, ), great art by Frank Strunk III, David Williams, John Revisky, Cindy Mason, and Claudia Strano. The gallery got an adjacent street closed to display a new fire truck, and enable valet parking. There were two police cruisers parked outside the building, and there were enough police/guards inside that for a moment I thought it was a performance art piece! There was a cornucopia of excellent hor doeuvres, and three or more bars.
A free-roaming blonde videographer wandered around, and eventually corraled me on a couch, and video'd me with an ultra-wide lens about 10" from my face. Cruel and unusual lenswork, in my opinion. Like everyone else, I gushed about the opening.
Here is where I would normally review the work, but when I was there, unbelievably, the art was not tagged. No titles, no artists, no prices. Maryann assured me they were on their way. I had other gallery openings to tend to that evening, but it's a great excuse for an encore visit. I clearly recognized Frank Strunk III's distressed metalwork textural poems, which fit in very well with the distressed interior. One piece, a sheetmetal rusty dollar, this one in waveform, almost like a fluttering flag, perhaps a comment on the love of money?
I had a brief chat with the affable Ms. Lynch, and would like to wish her a warm welcome, and a Happy Zero Birthday to Station Number Three.