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LaFontsee Galleries: 30 years of incredible views


It is hard to imagine those days in 1987 when LaFontsee Galleries (then called The Underground Studio) opened in a tiny space on Grand Street in the middle of a neighborhood just east of Heritage Hill.

Back then if you were looking to purchase art, you had to visit Eastown, the Amway Grand Hotel, or the mall. And even then, the costs to secure a work of art was out of reach for most of us who were looking to take down our Spencer Gifts’ Erté prints or posters we inherited from our college days or Believe in Music.

Over time, proprietors Scott and Linda LaFontsee began to crack the local art code, first welcoming local artists (most often students or faculty from area colleges), and then later expanding upon their representation to include national artists. (Full disclosure: I was one of those local artists they carried in the 1990s and into the early aughts until I left for a lakeshore gallery.) 

The best memories of the decades since has been watching the community grow over time to welcome more original art into their homes and businesses. Another found memory is the receptions, which in the early days was how the local artists community connected, since there truly was so little to do back then related to fine art.

And while many of the galleries that used to dot our city map have shuttered their doors, LaFontsee kept on plugging away as the city grew. They even opened a gallery in Douglas over the years after beta testing that market with a series of what is best described as temporary or pop-up spaces until they built a brand new building at this lakeshore community. 

On Friday night, LaFontsee Galleries is celebrating turning 30 and will be hosting a special art reception with live music, refreshments, fresh art, and so much more. In fact, advance notices indicate that their entire crop of artists will have work up on this special night so you will not want to miss this one if you are in the market to discover a new artist or secure a work of art. 

In addition, the gallery will be donating during the month of February 5 percent of all retail sales to two local arts organizations: The Cook Arts Center and Artists Creating Together. So by supporting local artists you are also doing good, too, this month. 
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