Petaluma – Riverfront Art Gallery

Awarded gallery Riverfront Art Gallery is located in the heart of Petaluma‘s Historic Downtown district. Fine art photography and paintings by North Bay artists are on display at this gallery. They are a cooperative gallery, as the name implies. The gallery’s artists are involved in the day-to-day activities and management of the gallery. They opened the gallery in September 2007 after a year of planning.

During the fall of 2007, Jerrie Morago and Lance Kuehne embarked on a daring new venture: they joined forces to create an art gallery on Petaluma Boulevard, a prime location on Petaluma’s waterfront, which they called “Petaluma Boulevard Gallery.” The goal was to offer local artists with a platform for exhibiting their work while also providing the community with a new option for high-quality unique artwork and crafts. The gallery is organized as a cooperative, with many artists taking an active role in the day-to-day operations of the gallery.

After the painting, museum-quality lighting, putting the name on the front window, and other finishing touches were completed, the artists started to work hanging the first display. The bar had been set extremely high. An underlying sense of optimism pervaded the air. The door was open, but the gallery wasn’t quite ready yet. Someone did come in, though, and purchased a landscape painting with a gold frame.

The doors officially opened on September 16, 2007. They had no idea that the economy was about to go into a tailspin of unprecedented proportions. The community did suffer the loss of a few artists, and the initial exhilaration of the early days of the business was replaced by a trickle of clients. Despite everything, they managed to survive! The Riverfront has not only survived, but it has also been continuously recognized with honors such as “Best in the North Bay” and “Petaluma People’s Choice Award.”

Over the years, the program evolved from a select group of artists with huge spaces to a more flexible approach that accommodates a large number of artists in smaller locations. The result has been a windfall for local artists, as well as artists from numerous adjacent counties, and even as far away as San Francisco. Customers have also traveled from as far away as San Francisco and beyond, with a large number of works being transported all over the country. The community itself has benefitted greatly by finding roughly 40 artists in one place, with a considerable range of artwork on display.

Of course, the pandemic that occurred in 2020 caused devastation on everyone and everything. However, such difficulties frequently result in transformation. In the case of Riverfront, this was the case. Lance got busy studying how to become an online art venue. Before Christmas, a functioning online store had made its debut. As with the opening of the street store, the online store began amid a steep downturn. Yet, we know how important art and beauty are to the eye, to the atmosphere of a place, and to the spirit. That circumstance is ongoing and will continue to be the basis for the success of Riverfront and of our artists. Expectations are still high. Optimism still pulses through the atmosphere. The mission still continues.

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