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Muse Gallery makes move, opens a second storefront

Kelsey Givens / Lantern reporter

A Muse Gallery, now named Muse Gallery, has a new location and new sister company in German Village.  

Muse Gallery moved to 188 Whittier St., with new sister operation Circle Gallery open right next door at 190 Whittier St.

To celebrate the move to a new location, there will be a reopening party on Friday at 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

“There will be catering, live music and people milling in and out all day long as well as artists here to meet and greet,” said Hali Robinson, manager of Muse Gallery.

“We’ve had a huge response; It will be a great way to check out the new space.”

Caren Petersen, owner of Muse Gallery, said after 12 years at the other location on Third Avenue, it was time for something fresh and new, especially with an idea to split the gallery in two.

“We had become complacent and comfortable,” Robinson said. “With the new location there is a lot of hype and more walking traffic outside.”

Petersen said the gallery will continue to carry art from “mid-career” level artists. However, Circle Gallery will now carry more established artists who have moved past the mid-career-level point.

“Some of the artists we work with were becoming established artists and we didn’t want to risk losing them,” Petersen said. So she was inspired to split the gallery in two in order to avoid confusion about the type of art Muse Gallery carried.

The decision of which artists are sold in Muse Gallery versus who are carried in Circle Gallery comes down to levels of price and success.

Petersen said the more affordable, mid-career level artists will continue to be carried in Muse Gallery, while the other more successful artists will be separated out into Circle Gallery.

Petersen said the move was also partway to help fight the effects of the weak economy.

“It was a huge effort to make it survive,” Petersen said. “I needed to do it fresh, and changing locations was the perfect vehicle to do that.”

The down economy seemed to affect the creative as well as the business side of the art industry. Like in many other businesses around the country, people were scared.

“A lot of artists took the safe way in their work, sticking with what had sold in the past,” Petersen said. “But to us, that’s boring, there’s not much inspiration in that.”

The new location seemed to be an inspiration not only for Petersen and Robinson, but for the artists they work with as well.

Robinson said they asked each artist with work currently in Muse Gallery to create a piece for the reopening. Inspiration from the new space was visible in the different work the gallery received from the artists.  

Petersen said the change in the name came from confusion over the old name.

“It was a longstanding problem,” she said. “People didn’t get (the name) and always thought it was funny; We had an identity problem.”  

She said in addition to the confusion between humor and the Greek inspiration of art, one singular muse didn’t seem appropriate anymore either. Petersen and Robinson decided to go with the new name, Muse Gallery.

“This way people will still recognize it’s the same gallery,” Robinson said.

When naming the Circle Gallery, Petersen decided to honor her father.

“My maiden name is Circle,” she said. “The name pays homage to my father who was supposed to die this year, but is still alive and well.”

Robinson said the name is also about connections.

“There are a lot of connections with the name,” she said. “It brings everything full-circle.”

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