Gallery owner Marion Meyer confirmed she intends to close her self-named contemporary art gallery, anchoring a block of North Coast Highway known as Gallery Row, in January.
Meyer cited slow sales caused by a weak economy and a need to retrench as the primary reason for closing after 14 years.
Meyer’s impending departure comes in the wake of a flurry of gallery closures or retrenchments in recent months. Multi-media Studio Arts Gallery closed in October, Wendt Gallery moved out in September and the town’s oldest gallery, Esther Wells Collection went dark in March.
“Marion was very instrumental in the art community for many years. She showed quality art and attended every local art event she could I am sorry Marion is leaving,” said Rebecca Barber, who co-owned Studio Arts and chairs the First Thursday Art Walk. “She is loyal to the community and we look forward to her participation at city events. We’ll miss her at Art Walk,” she added.
Meyer established her gallery in 1998 to further interest in contemporary art, then no small feat in a region more attuned to land- and seascapes and permutation of “traditional” art. She recalls spending 10 years learning the ropes at Gallery 224, now the DeBilzan Gallery.
Fearless of commercial risk, Meyer brought an international roster of emerging and established painters, sculptors and multi-media artistd to public attention.
Intent on educating not only collectors but the wider public to contemporary art, she became an instantaneous and tireless supporter of the First Thursday Art Walk.
“This is the worst news of the decade,” said fellow contemporary art gallerist Peter Blake. “Marion has been an incredible resource and help to the art community. I can only hope she stays involved in some way.”
Meyer’s fellow contemporary art gallerists in North Laguna both expressed sadness over the decision. “Hers is one of the oldest contemporary art galleries and she worked very hard not only to promote her gallery but the arts throughout town,” said Sue Greenwood.
“She was one of the first to support me on my move to the ‘block’ from my Santa Ana location,” wrote Joanne Artman via e-mail. “I greatly appreciate all that she has done for the arts community in Laguna.”
Meyer expressed appreciation for the countless opportunities to contribute to Laguna’s vibrant art scene and plans to stay involved in some capacity.
“The past two years have been extremely challenging for nearly everyone in the art community but more importantly, it just feels like the right time for me to consider new challenges,” she said.