If you’ve taken a stroll along South Fork Main Streets recently, you may have noticed some art galleries aren’t where you thought they were, or are where you didn’t think they were. As George Bernard Shaw once said “Progress is impossible without change.”
Take Sara Nightingale Gallery, for example. After 17 years on Montauk Highway in Water Mill, Nightingale has moved her gallery into the narrow space at 26 Main Street in Sag Harbor, snug between Black Swan Antiques and Harbor Books. Nightingale has always dreamed of relocating to Sag Harbor. “For one thing,” she says, “I live here.” Good reason. “I also love the uniquely personal small businesses in Sag Harbor,” she adds. “Everyone seems to have a particular voice that is emphatically non-corporate.” She is looking forward to the walk-in traffic in Sag Harbor and assures us that “the gallery will be a welcoming and casual place for people to see art.” The inaugural show at the new space—which opened Saturday, January 14—features the photography of Aaron Kresberg, a student at the Ross School. The show, Nambia: Exploring Endangered Species through Photography, is Kresberg’s senior project and a fundraiser for REST (Rare and Endangered Species Trust) Namibia. Then what? “I want to exhibit art in the new space that contributes to the cultural narrative and engages the viewer,” she says. Look forward to collaborative programs in the future as Nightingale plans to work with other dealers, organizations and independent curators—not to mention socially engaged artists. Nightingale asserts, “As far as what I will show in the future, you’ll just have to come and visit to find out.”
Mark Humphrey Gallery, one of the oldest operating galleries in the Hamptons, has relocated to a cozy, more light-filled space on Jagger Lane, still in Southampton village. “Having been on Main Street for 36 years,” Humphrey says, “we no longer felt it necessary to maintain a presence in such a visible location, paying the huge rent a Main Street location commands.” According to Humphrey, who does all his work in his studio on Union Square in New York, a large portion of his business is picture framing. And while the new gallery has less display space, Humphrey says 90% of the galleries sales are his own work, and 90% of that is attributed to interior designers bringing clients to the gallery. If you’re looking to decorate a new space of your own, now you know where to find the goods. Regarding the move, Humphrey says: “We are absolutely thrilled with our decision and new home on Jagger Lane!”
Then there’s RJD Gallery, which occupied one of the buildings ultimately demolished as a result of the fire in Sag Harbor in December. The gallery is only temporarily closed, though. Gallery owner Richard Demato said on a Facebook post that he has already begun construction on a new space at 2385 Montauk Highway in Bridgehampton, which he plans to open in March of this year. In fact, RJD recently announced an open call for artists for their 8th annual Hampton’s Juried Art Show, which opens April 22. While some works were lost in the fire, RJD Gallery maintains a large, offsite storage facility with much more art ready to shine in the new gallery. Demato says the new gallery will have more than twice the space and art on one floor, and a separate back and upper studio. While Sag Harbor is certainly sad to see it—and its amazing collection—leave, everyone is glad RJD Gallery will getting back on their feet soon.