New Gallery in Merchants Square Emphasizes Locally Influenced Art

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Mayor Clyde Haulman and  owner Gulay Berryman at the grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony on Oct. 1. (Courtesy Williamsburg Art Gallery)
Mayor Clyde Haulman and owner Gulay Berryman at the grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony on Oct. 1. (Courtesy Williamsburg Art Gallery)

A new art gallery opened its doors in Merchants Square on Thursday, celebrating with a ribbon-cutting ceremony in the morning and an artists’ reception in the afternoon.

Williamsburg Art Gallery is currently exhibiting the work of more than 40 painters, sculptures and artists of other sorts. Though many local artists are featured, others hail from elsewhere in the U.S. and abroad.

Gallery owner and director Gulay Berryman has had her own work displayed in numerous galleries around town, but it was her desire to create a uniquely local gallery that inspired her to open her own space.

“I’ve been painting since 1972,” said Berryman, who was born in Turkey and has lived and worked in France and Italy. “I’ve lived all over but I just love Williamsburg’s history and beautiful landscapes.”

As a result of her passion for the look and feel of the Historic Triangle, many of the works on display in the gallery are scenes from the Greater Williamsburg area. Berryman noted many of the depictions of Williamsburg do not come from local artists, saying it is a testament to the visual appeal of the area to people from all over.

Artists and art enthusiasts gathered at the gallery on Thursday afternoon for a first look its collection, which features many paintings of the greater Williamsburg area. (Elizabeth Hornsby/WYDaily)
Artists and art enthusiasts gathered at the gallery on Thursday afternoon for a first look its collection, which features many paintings of the greater Williamsburg area. (Elizabeth Hornsby/WYDaily)

“We want to encourage well-known artists to be interested in painting Williamsburg,” Berryman said.

In addition to the traditional functions of a gallery, Berryman also plans to host regular events and programs in the space that will include performances, educational seminars and cultural presentations.

“My second passion after art is opera,” Berryman said. “We are hosting a curtain opener for Opera in Williamsburg’s next show [Don Giovanni] on October 22.”

In addition to the importance of supporting local arts, Berryman also recognizes the need to foster love of and knowledge about the arts in the next generation. The gallery currently has two interns from local high schools who are interested in studying art at the college level upon graduation.

“I hope I can share with them what I know about art and about the business of art,” Berryman said.

Art-lovers can check out the gallery from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, and from noon to 6 p.m. Sundays.