Hazel Modella Art Gallery: Bringing Art Back to Main Street

This piece is from the exhibit “A Migratory Experiment” by Christie Hackler. The exhibit was on display during April of this year.

Story by Sally Finnegan

When first walking into the new gallery on Main, the wall of windows at the front entrance and back door illuminate the space, lending to the gallery’s surprisingly bright atmosphere. The hardwood floors, plain white brick walls lined by paintings, and overhead lights throughout Modella Gallery allow the relatively simple space to be dynamic.  

The open, rectangular space remains empty apart from the few leather seats in the central area and a piano near the rear. It is not difficult to imagine the events that have utilized the space—from live music by Functional Polly and the OSU Trumpet Quintet to meetings held by the Stillwater Arts and Humanities Council.

Hazel Modella Gallery, a non-profit art gallery, encourages appreciation and understanding of art through direct contact with original works of art.”

The mission of this new gallery is to provide a functional space that serves not only as a venue for artists to display their work in our community, but also as a platform for the Stillwater community to experience an array of media, including all types and scales of art.

There is something to be said about being encouraged to experience art up-close and personal—a unique exchange of curiosity, ideas, and humanity between the artist and the viewer, an exchange that isn’t quite as apparent when a piece is viewed digitally. Having the ability to see an artist’s process by seeing multiple pieces side by side, by examining differences in brushstrokes and textures and thicknesses of paint—even in the occasional artist demonstration—allows the viewer to see the evolution of an artist’s style and ideas. There is a level of intimacy between the artist sharing and the viewer inquiring.

This recent exhibit featured works by Jude Tolar and Peggy Cook.

Modella seeks to be an outlet for such personal interaction.

Even though each piece featured in the gallery is available for purchase, the main purpose transcends beyond sales. Modella acts as a space for artists to have the opportunity to directly display their work. From visual arts, live music, and event hosting, to exhibits and demonstrations from local artists and beyond, the Gallery’s purpose will continue to develop and evolve season by season.

At 721 S. Main Street, right across from Louie’s, the gallery is nestled between Everyman and Empire Nutrition. For Modella, location is key, and the upbeat downtown atmosphere is what ultimately prompted the owners to choose the gallery’s home. With the increased development of the arts, including the OSU Museum at the Postal Plaza, Backstage Stillwater, B Hanes Art Gallery, and others, sharing arts and expression is becoming as commonplace as looking for a cute top or grabbing a cup of coffee. Modella is looking forward to contributing to this initiative.

So who is Hazel Modella? Hazel and Modella are actually the two names of owner Valerie Bloodgood’s grandmothers. When explaining her choice in the name, Valerie said, “They are strong and powerful influences in my life, and I felt like the name was a—Modella was a really good fit for a gallery.”

Not only is Modella aiming to be part of the community, but, as a non-profit, the gallery’s intended reach also moves beyond the visual. Modella serves a purpose for locals who have a desire to be involved with the arts. The Board of Directors works to write grants toward bringing the arts even more fully into our community.

At 721 S. Main Street, right across from Louie’s, the gallery is nestled between Everyman and Empire Nutrition.

Each exhibit lasts five weeks at a time, with a two-week intermission to prepare for the next. Since its open in the spring, Modella has featured artists from Stillwater and the greater Oklahoma City area and expects to expand further.. A gallery shop featuring artists for a year at a time will be coming soon.

Most of gallery revenue is from grant writing and donations from films, music, and renting out facilities. If you have an interest in grant writing, Modella is always looking for help with their initiative. Daddio’s and the Stillwater Arts and Humanities Council have been very generous with support for different projects.

Beginning Thursday, August 17, Modella’s next exhibition, “Ripples from Stillwater,” will be available for viewing.

Music@Modella, Modella’s monthly live-music event, will take place on Monday, August 14, 2017.

Look for The Mecca at Modella, Modella’s monthly film series, toward the end of August.

For inquiries about art submissions, purchases, and space rental, please visit the Modella website at ModellaArtGallery.org.

To keep up with all Modella news, follow @modella.art.gallery on Instagram, @ModellaArt on Twitter, and like the Hazel Modella Art Gallery page on Facebook.