Feature Articles

April Issue 2000

Bernie Horton Gallery in Charleston, SC, Expands To A New Location

by Linda Annas Ferguson

Since Nov., 1997, Bernie Horton Originals Gallery has enjoyed a cozy spot on Church Street, just south of Broad in Charleston, SC. Now, after just a little more than two years, he has expanded to a new location at 111 Church Street, a few steps north of Broad.

Bernie is best known for his oils and acrylics that capture the light and life of the Lowcountry. Creeks wind themselves through the marshland under live oaks draped in pendulous moss. Shrimpers and crabbers gather their feasts to the shore. Others chase an elusive clam, shoes sunk in the mire of pluff mud.

He came to Charleston from Pawleys Island, SC, where he owned and operated Bernie Horton Studio. His paintings were received with enthusiasm by Charlestonians and travelers alike from the first day of operation. By the second year in business, the demand for his work had doubled. As he began to outgrow his space, the next natural step was to find a larger location.

Situated in the former Yaschik Enterprise offices, the new gallery is more than double the size of the former site. It has been completely renovated and modernized. The increased size and more sophisticated lighting more adequately serves the customers by allowing them to view the art from different perspectives. The interior is decorated in warm tones that complement his subject matter. Bernie commented, " I want the customer to feel welcome and comfortable. I felt the new gallery should be more spacious, yet just as inviting as the smaller previous location."

Now that he has established himself in the Charleston area, he is being approached by numerous other galleries up and down the east coast. He is now showing at the Red Piano Gallery in Hilton Head, SC, and also looking at a broader market with a national scope. Plans are in the process to establish a web site which will help coordinate national advertising in the near future.

Bernie correlates his growth to that of the overall Charleston art venue. Since he came to Charleston, the French Quarter Gallery Association has doubled in membership. Bernie recounts "Church Street gave me my beginning. I wanted to stay in the French Quarter area. I am particularly happy that we were able to move only a few doors from our previous location. I have made a commitment to this area and to Charleston. I appreciate Charleston's generous response to my work."

Since his move on Mar. 1, the gallery has noticed a 25 percent increase in traffic. He is located in the same block as a number of other quality art galleries. Bernie added, "Everyone has welcomed us to the block. We refer customers to neighbor galleries and they refer customers to us. I think it is a given that when there are several comparable galleries in the same vicinity, customers gravitate there."

In addition to Bernie's work, the gallery also features the oils and acrylics by his brother, Mark Kelvin Horton, also a talented artist. Mark is developing a following of collectors, and will be shown as a guest artist on an ongoing basis.

Linda Annas Ferguson is a freelance writer and poet living in Charleston.

For further information check our SC Commercial Gallery listings or call the gallery at 843/958-0014.

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