Art gallery dream being realized by local artists

Artwork by Laurie Meyer

What happens to dreams we ignore? Dreams of learning to sail, or going back to school, or writing a book, or running a marathon?

If we ignore our dreams because we need to pay the mortgage, or raise our children, or because we’re scared of failure, do the dreams die?

Laurie Meyer and her daughter, Katie Geer, were not going to let the dream of opening their own gallery die.

“We always talked about how one day we’d have our own gallery,” says Meyer, who has lived in and painted in Charleston for 35 years. Meyer’s work has been represented by the Wells Gallery and Hagan Fine Art.

When her daughter moved back to Charleston from New York in 2013, they decided the time was right to start making their dream a reality.

Geer got a job with Anglin Smith Fine Art and learned the business while keeping an eye out for the perfect location.

They were thrilled when a space became available on Queen Street. However, the deal fell through and mother and daughter wondered if their dream was not meant to be.

Discouraged, they put their dream on hold until the summer of 2015 when they met artist Marissa Vogl at Piccolo Spoleto.

Meyer and Vogl became fast friends during their two-week run in their booths at Marion Square, and after the shootings at Mother Emanuel AME Church on June 17, Vogl called Meyer and said, “We have to do something.”

That something grew into the “Artist for Emanuel” fundraiser with artwork donated by more than 90 local artists, which raised nearly $70, 000 for the Coastal Community Foundation’s Lowcountry Unity Fund.

“This tiny idea grew into something we could have never imagined,” says Meyer.

Local artists Hillarie Lambert and Susan Colwell joined the trio to create an event that helped the community heal.

Inspired and empowered by this success, Meyer asked Vogl to share in her dream of opening a gallery.

The Meyer Vogl Gallery will open in early March in a former lawyer’s office on the corner of Meeting and Queen.

“I’m a big believer in staying optimistic and the power of visualization. While I believe in things happening for a reason, I know that only happens if you are open to opportunity ... and put elbow grease into it. My art career has been a sacrifice, but it’s worth it. I believe that women should always support each other,” says Vogl, whose work has been featured at the Mitchell Hill gallery.

Vogl paints “the places we go to when we feel our most energized, the strongest and the places that bring us the most joy. Painting is my way of putting into words the connection I feel to the landscape.”

Geer, who will manage the operations of the gallery, says the women’s work is complimentary.

They both love bold brushwork, but Vogl’s style is more abstract and Meyer paints in a representational style.

“I’ve always responded to the mood of light. The way it changes colors throughout the day and affects shadow color is magical to me,” says Meyer.

Their first show, “Duets,” will open in May and will explore the same subject matter through their different styles.

The galley also will exhibit works by local and nationally recognized guest artists who are diverse and unique, ranging from emerging to established contemporary masters.

“By exhibiting artwork for which we feel an emotional connection, we hope to engage the senses of art lovers and introduce collectors to exhilarating new works.”

Bringing your dreams to life does not come without hard work, and Meyer concedes there have been moments when she wondered if they were crazy.

“Then I remembered that if your dreams don’t scare you, you are not dreaming big enough,” she says.

Meyer Vogl Gallery is at 122 Meeting St., Charleston.

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