After two years of pandemic gloominess, it was good to walk down State Street in downtown Santa Barbara and into a bright, cheerful and high-energy grand opening for a new art gallery.
Maune Contemporary, the newest local destination for contemporary art, recently held a splashy sips + bites debut at its freshly remodeled space at 1309 State St., next door to the historic Arlington Theatre.
Owners Heidi and Ramsey Maune hosted the affair at the spacious Arts District location, which features large, bright white walls and lighting highlighting a colorful array of art.
The gallery was filled with movers and shakers from the local art and design community enjoying a stunning presentation of cheese and charcuterie from Slate Catering Co. and cool music by the Santa Barbara-based band, Brett & Co.
This is the second location for the Maunes, who opened their first gallery in the Miami Circle Design District in Atlanta in 2019. The longtime collectors enjoy art fairs and visiting galleries to discover new artists while supporting their local art community.
“We are thrilled with the support our gallery has received from the Santa Barbara community,” Heidi Maune told Noozhawk.
“Everyone has been so welcoming and we could not be more excited to be among such lovely people.”
The UC Santa Barbara alumna, whose parents have lived in Santa Barbara for more than 30 years, said she and her husband have long wanted to open a gallery locally.
“Connecting with the community has been an important part of our business model,” she said. “And we are looking forward to meeting our neighbors and being part of the Arts District, which is coming back alive after the pandemic.”
As a way to keep in touch with clients and art enthusiasts during the COVID-19 crisis, the Maunes began virtual gallery tours utilizing 3D technology, allowing their exhibits to be viewed worldwide.
The opening exhibit, “Finally Home,” highlights the work of 17 contemporary artists from eight countries as a way to showcase the diversity and breadth of the gallery’s offerings.
Maune specializes in limited edition and unique works by midcareer and renowned international artists whose pieces have been exhibited and found in collections and museums worldwide.
Featured artists include Alex Katz, who will have a retrospective at The Guggenheim in New York this year, and Julie Torres, whose “Super Diva” screen print from her popular RBG Series honoring the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has joined the permanent collection of the Department of Drawings and Prints at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Additional artists on display currently are Kenny Sharf, known for his participation in New York’s interdisciplinary East Village art scene during the 1980s, as well as Khalilah Birdsong, Ross Bleckner, Ted Collier, Halim Flowers, Caio Fonseca, Stephanie Henderson, Robert Kelly, Justin Lyons, Esteban Ocampo-Giraldo, Gavin Rain and Donald Sultan.
“The mission of Maune Contemporary is to bridge various artist communities and provide our artists with a greater exposure to new markets,” Ramsey Maune said.
“It was our passion for contemporary and modern art that initially inspired us to open our first gallery in Atlanta, and we hope to continue this mission in the American Riviera.”
— Judy Foreman is a Noozhawk columnist and longtime local writer and lifestyles observer. She can be contacted at email@example.com. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.