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Seaside Art Gallery watercolor by Fini Beunis, circa 1970s.

About The Seaside Art Gallery

Art enhances all of our lives. It brings beauty to our lives, encourages communication and healing, gives us a new way to see the world and is a reflection of the time it is created in. It can also help businesses establish an image and promote creativity within the company. We are here to help you build a collection and find the perfect works of original art for your life.

Seaside Art Gallery watercolor by Fini Beunis, circa 1970s.

Seaside Art Gallery watercolor by Fini Beunis, circa 1970s.

The Outer Banks of NC is very different from what it was back in 1961 when Chester & Barbara Smith, along with their friend William Wood opened the doors of Seaside Art Gallery. There were no stop lights and very few buildings, just miles of beautiful beaches and the rolling waves of the Atlantic. Nags Head became a town that same year.

Barbara was an artist and it was difficult for a female artist to find representation. They had been visiting Nags Head for several years, fell in love with the area and decided to open the gallery. They leased a building for $75.00 a month and attracted seven other artists, Barclay Sheaks, Betsy Shoff, Fred Smith, Betty Zoe Miller, M. Charles, Cynthia Haack & Jack Fretwell to believe in the venture. The one room gallery was only open during June, July & August. Nags Head resembled a ghost town during the rest of the year. After leasing for five years, they purchased the building.

Seaside Art Gallery Property Valuation, circa 1964

Seaside Art Gallery Property Valuation, circa 1964

Changes in the Outer Banks and the gallery have occurred over the decades. Chester & Barbara’s children, Melanie and Ward grew up surrounded by art and artists. The gallery added rooms and represented more artists. A passion and love of art inspired an expansion into national and then international artists. Barclay Sheaks was the first artist honored with a one man art show in the late 1960’s.

The next decade was an exciting period of growth for the gallery but a difficult time for the family. Barbara passed away in 1973 after a courageous battle against breast cancer. After studying art history, Melanie decided that she wanted a career in the gallery. Ward went into the building industry. Nags Head was also growing and more people were finding the joys of the Outer Banks which allowed the gallery to stay open for the entire year.

The art world was very vibrant during the 80’s. The art gallery was hosting one man art shows and demonstration art shows. Animation art by Disney, Warner Bros and others were added to the gallery. It was during this time that the gallery reached the 12 room size that it is today. Chester met, fell in love and married Arnette who joined the gallery.

Seaside Art Gallery, 2010

Seaside Art Gallery, 2010

The nineties heralded a new decade of change. Chester completed the first volume of the catalogue raisonne for the etchings of David Hunter. New artists joined the gallery and Berge Missakian had a One Man Art Show that was completely sold out on opening day. The first International Miniature Art Show was held in May 1991. This has become an annual event and one of the major miniature art shows in the USA. Melanie completed the requirements and courses to become an accredited member of the International Society of Appraisers, specialty in fine arts. Heartache hit the family again when Ward lost his fight with pancreatic cancer and William Wood passed away weeks later in 1999.

The year 2011 marks our golden anniversary! Please join us in celebrating 50 years of Seaside Art Gallery.

The new century begins. Events such as 9/11 and new technology has changed the landscape of our lives and art reflects this. Seaside Art Gallery is constantly following the events and market in the art world so that we can help our collectors make the right decisions for their needs. Our newest event is the Animals in Art Show. We partner with our local SPCA and 10% of the proceeds go to this organization. Our community is important to us and there are numerous charitable organizations that we support.

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