The Phoenix Gallery, a gallery located in downtown Lawrence with a wide-ranging art selection, houses works of art from over 400 different artists.
The Phoenix Gallery is located on the 800th block of Massachusetts Street and features local, regional and even national artists. How it separates itself from other galleries, however, is the vast amount of mediums of art available.
“People will walk in once in a while and go 'Oh, a gallery.’ They're thinking, you know, stark walls,” said Sue Shea, gallery director at the Phoenix Gallery. “But to me, art can take so many forms. A good artist can be a ceramic artist, a good artist can be glassblower, a good artist can make amazing jewelry. So just narrowing it down to one thing, I don't think this is fair to all the different artists in the world.”
The Phoenix Gallery began over 20 years ago and is owned by Dan Ranjbar. Its only location is in Lawrence and it holds all kinds of art including pottery, paintings, jewelry, sculpture, blown glass and other items.
“We have everything that ranges from a small ten-dollar bowl, all up to jewelry in the thousands and sculptures in the thousands,” Shea said. “Our motto is to get art in everyone's hands. We’re trying to fill every niche of art for people so they can come in and feel like they're taking home something that's handmade.”
The Phoenix Gallery endeavors to promote local artists in the surrounding areas.
“I would say it's just trying to show as many local artists and help them make their living,” Shea said. “When you're buying from us, you're not just buying from us, you're buying from a local artist that in turn, makes his home or her home in Lawrence.”
Louis Copt, a local artist in Lawrence, currently has an exhibit on display in the underground portion of the gallery where they typically house their 2-D art. He says for someone like himself, who has a studio in the country, it helps to have a place like the Phoenix Gallery.
“I don't see a lot of people out here, and in order to market my work I need an outlet where people can come and see it; that’s what the Phoenix offers,” Copt said. “At least it gives me exposure that I wouldn't ordinarily get just sitting in my studio.”
Copt began displaying his art at the Phoenix Gallery three to four years ago and sees it as a connection for artists and a good representation of Lawrence.
“Their role is to become kind of a bridge between the artist and the collector,” Copt said.
Shea said she believes downtown Lawrence also has a big part in the vibrant art scene the Phoenix Gallery is a part of.
“We have people that come here all the time from other cities. They're like, 'I wish we had a downtown like this, if we just had a downtown like this,' and so it makes me really proud that we're just a part of it,” Shea said.
The Phoenix Gallery participates in several events throughout the year, including the Wedding Walk in Lawrence and a variety of other charitable events. They also consistently participate in Final Fridays in Lawrence.
“We change it up. Every Final Friday is different. You're always going to come in and see new artists, or artists that you've always liked their work and you finally get to meet them,” said Shea. “We always have live music, we always have food and just a lot going on.”
Final Fridays also give artists a greater opportunity to display more of their work.
“I've always got a few pieces there, but you know every once in a while, [Shea] will have a show which is an exhibition that really gives you the chance to show a good body of work,” Copt said. “That's the advantage of having a show — people can see a good representation of work.”
Shea said the gallery’s overall purpose is to help serve artists.
“We love representing artists. We love downtown Lawrence, I can think any place we'd rather be,” Shea said. “That's basically it, you know – promoting artists.”
— Edited by Hannah Strader