Grand opening Saturday

Artists Calli Laundre and Schyler Binkley are excited about the impending opening of their new business, Daybreak Gallery & Studio, at 384 River St. in downtown Manistee. They said they hope the business brings new energy to the downtown district. (Dave Yarnell/News Advocate)

MANISTEE — Art will have a new venue in Manistee sometime this week, as Daybreak Gallery & Studio opens at 384 River St. in the space formerly occupied by River Street Gallery.

Schyler Binkley and Calli Laundre are planning a grand opening at the gallery on Saturday from 5 to 8 p.m., “but we’re going to try to have a soft opening before then,” Binkley said. “As soon as we can get things squared away, as soon as the sheets in the window come down, that’s when we’ll be open.”

Both said getting the business open took much longer than they thought it would.

“Getting to this point has been a lot more time consuming than we originally anticipated,” Binkley said. “People said it would be simple, but everything just took longer than we thought.”

“We did so much painting — and drywall and patching,” Laundre said. “Tons of little stuff that took a lot of time.”

Laundre and Binkley are from Kalamazoo and both studied art at Western Michigan University.

“My brother lives here in town and he told me about Ray and Lois retiring,” Binkley said, referring to Ray and Lois Algueseva, who operated the River Street Gallery. “I’d been in this space before and I knew that the lighting was all set, and the fact that it’s been a gallery is good for us.”

Laundre specializes in printmaking and Binkley in pottery, and they’ve been so busy working on the building that they haven’t had time to do their own works for the opening.

“None of my stuff is in here right now and I probably won’t have anything until after we open and I can actually spend time in my studio,” Laundre said.

The basement of the building will be Binkley’s pottery studio, and he said eventually there will be pottery on display at the bottom of the stairs “so customers can see finished items and me working there, too. I haven’t spent a lot of time down there working because there’s always something to do up here. I’ve thrown a few things, but haven’t fired anything because we don’t have the kiln in yet.

Both are relatively new to the gallery business.

“I’ve been doing art fairs, so I feel that that counts as a business, but this is my first storefront,” Binkley said.

The two plan to feature all types of art in the gallery.

“We’re not totally focusing on local art, but for the most part we’ll have Michigan art,” Laundre said. “Everything in here now is from Michigan-based artists. Most of it from people we know in Kalamazoo, but (local artists) Eileen Postma and Mary Wahr both have things here.”

“We’re going to try to cycle through the art every month,” Binkley said. “We don’t want things to be stale. We don’t want our customers to have to see the same work over and over.”

He also said they plan to have a wide range of prices.

“Not everything will be a thousand dollar painting,” he said.

Binkley has become immersed in the local art scene — even as a new member of the Manistee Art Institute Board of Directors.

“We both come from art backgrounds and we both really believe in the importance of art. It’s who we are,” Binkley said. “More than anything this is sort of a cultural thing. There’s nothing like this in Manistee and we just really want to create that.”

Binkley said people have been inquiring about art classes the gallery might offer, particularly in pottery.

“We haven’t figured that out, but it’s something we want to do,” Laundre said. “We’ll be able to offer a variety of classes. We think that would be fun.

“I hope that people come in and see what we’ve done with the space and see what we’re going to do,” she said. “It’s a modern and clean atmosphere and we’re giving each piece it’s own space.”

“I hope everyone comes to the grand opening,” Binkley said. “There are going to be refreshments and the whole nine yards.”

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Posted by Dave Yarnell

Dave was formerly the News Advocate features writer and retired in November 2013.

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