The Gallery at the Network gives visitors a lasting piece of the Central Coast

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

Gallery at the Network

Kari Appleton her hand-crafted necklace made of sea-glass.

Largest local art collection, from jewelry to paintings, is unique downtown treasure

One step through its doors and The Gallery at the Network will captivate you. Take a long, lingering look. Touch something. Take it home.

Though the artists revel in the company of visitors, visitors are likely to feel like the luckier party as they stroll around and revel in the visual delights. It’s unlike any other gallery, delivering a genuine taste of the Central Coast visitors can take home.

The Gallery was founded in Spring 2002 by Rosanne Seitz, a watercolor artist from Winter, CA; Julie Dunn, an expert in tempera batik on paper, and Linda Lewis, who has been crafting jewelry for 35 years). Formerly the “L’Artiste Gallery,” it changed to simply “The Gallery” later on when Dotty Hawthorne took over Lewis’ role in the Gallery’s trifecta.

Shop local, feel local & take that feeling home

Looking for jewelry, paintings, photography, wood carvings, sculptures, 3-D masterpieces and clay creations of more than 50 local artists from all counties surrounding San Luis Obispo? Yes, it’s all here. And each gives an intimate glimpse into the Central Coast from its many angles, with an essence of authenticity and character.

“It’s our very strong belief to support the ‘shop local/buy local’ concept,” said Dunn. “We want to support our local art community. And sending locals and visitors alike home with a bit of that ‘community’ is more than rewarding.”

The Gallery’s art is remarkably affordable. In addition, variety abounds at the shop – the inventory changes constantly as pieces are bought and their spots, refilled. A different collection or artist is featured every two months.

Night Out at the Gallery: Art After Dark & more

The Gallery is an active host at Art After Dark. Taking place the first Friday of each month, shops stay open later than normal business hours to provide wine or appetizers and live music for patrons to enjoy while perusing their masterpieces. The event has an extensive following, a staple of the SLO community supporting the talents of SLO-county residents, as well as the entrepreneurial culture of the community.

Art After Dark gives those who are honing their artistic palate the chance to take in more quirky pieces, such as the shoes of Larry Le Brane. Yes, shoes: stilettos, running shoes, etcetera – which he acquires from thrift shops and crafts into whimsical figures; his latest featured at The Gallery was “Disco Ninja Red Skulletos.”

Many of The Gallery’s artists contribute time and resources to San Luis Outdoor Painters of the Environment (SLOPE) to raise awareness of natural environmental resources.

Run by artists for artists…and their newest fans

Another thing: The Gallery has no employees. However, an artist is always present during gallery hours, working on projects and readily available to share stories and answer visitors’ questions.

“I’ve been making jewelry since high school, which is what I’ve been doing the three years I’ve been here,” said artist Kari Appleton, stringing a necklace made of sea-glass. “I’m always doing something different, depending on which mood strikes me. That (and visitors) keeps things interesting.”

Artists work at the gallery in exchange for a discount on the fee they pay to have their art hosted, switching off turns with the gallery owners.

“I really enjoy being at the gallery. It’s a chance to meet a lot of locals, as well as a lot of visitors…quite a few from other countries, too,” said Hawthorne. “It’s fun to chat with them and see what they respond to in regards to the artwork.”

Be part of The Gallery

To have your art featured at the gallery, call (805) 788-0886 or email manager@galleryatthenetwork.com to show samples of your work. The owners have monthly meetings to review prospective artists and decide if they’re a good fit.

Custom pieces from the artists can be commissioned by contacting a Gallery team member; you will be put in touch with the right person.

“Our gallery is special for people who appreciate art that inherently represents the local landscapes and talent – artisan pieces that define our local flavor,” said Julie. “We have abundantly represented local artists and craftsman for all 15 years we’ve been open. When visiting, our patrons want to go home with a little piece of our area to remind them of their memories. And The Gallery is where they find those perfect keepsakes.”

The Gallery at The Network, located at 778 Higuera St. Suite B near the Mission in San Luis Obispo, is open Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Sundays 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Visit galleryatthenetwork.com to view featured talents and to see a schedule of events; call (805) 788-0886 for more information.

–Sarah Graybill

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