Long have I meant to visit the Charlestown Gallery in Charlestown, RI. Longer than I’ve been working at my gallery the next town over as it’s located on the way to my maternal grandmother’s house. Countless times I have driven by over the decade that they’ve been in business, unable to stop, but always curious. The opportune moment came but a few weeks ago, having spent the morning at my gallery, and on a whim I decided that this would be the day I finally made the long awaited trip! Giving into whimsical moments of impulse makes for memorable days in life and I am always glad to do so from time to time.
Tucked back in a small community of local businesses off the Southbound part of Route 1, the gallery is easily found as they have a large sign approaching the exit that can’t be missed. The building sits under a shaded grove of trees off the parking lot and before entering the building, you will find works of art greeting you from the front porch.
Selling the work of regional contemporary artists, Charlestown Gallery has a large floorspace split into three rooms. This gallery utilizes every bit of space to display the majority of the vast amount of work they have. There’s even quite a bit in storage, which they are happy to go through with you, but I found that I could glimpse at some of it without too much trouble. The main central room doubles as their exhibition space featuring the work of 2-3 artists at a time. One of the artists on display was Antonia Tyz Peeples who happened to be at the gallery when I stopped by. We had a lovely chat about the gallery, her work, my gallery, and other various and sundry things.
The right wing of the gallery acts mainly as the jewelry showroom, featuring the works of many jewelers. Tucked in the back of this space, however, lies the work of one of the gallery owners. Dave “Gilly” Gilstein’s abstract paintings I have seen before by means of Facebook, but I was just as intrigued by them in person. Gilly happened to be at the gallery when I stopped by and we were able to “re-meet” (I met him briefly once before last year). He gave me some insights into how they run the space, giving me a better understanding of how they operate before he had to dash.
The Charlestown Gallery holds quite a bit of artwork, and can be overwhelming at first look, but as you wander through it becomes easier to find the work that appeals to your personal tastes. I’d say that there is something for everyone there, you just have to take a few moments to look for it, but don’t expect it to always be there as they shift the work around constantly. This approach works in their favor as they’ve been successfully providing the community of Charlestown with an artistic venue for over ten years.