Grand Opening: Mars Landing Galleries

Water Mandala Light Box, Alissa Christine

A new fine art gallery is opening in Madison County, featuring 6,000 square feet of exhibition space to display works by artists that founder Miryam Rojas says are under-represented in the region. Makers working in a wide range of mediums — everything from conventional handcrafted styles to virtual reality crypto art — will be included.

“As the sole owner and director, I envision the potential of this exhibit space as an artists’ stage,” says Rojas. But she also hopes that a connection with her gallery will propel artists to the next level; it’s also about “where [exposure at Mars Landing] could ultimately take them,” she adds.

Ceremonial Connection I, Valerie Hoh

 Current artists represented by Mars Landing are mixed-media sculptor Valerie Hoh, pastel portraitist Vered Pasternak, oil painter Al Schlimm, photographer Michael Filonow, and narrative painter Skip Rohde. Rojas says much of her selection process has to do with “timing and synchronicity: who’s ready now, and what they’re doing that appeals to me either aesthetically or conceptually. The rest is visceral, relying on energetic connection and respect of [an artist’s] bold, selfless approach [to] expression.”

Nurturing is an important part of her process, notes Rojas. She says “an innate maternal drive” elevates her business acumen, allowing her to “value and find common ground with creatives.”

Ceremonial Connection II, Valerie Hoh

The gallery space was originally a roller-skating rink in downtown Mars Hill, making it a building large enough for artworks to be curated within individual mini galleries, and, in addition, to be rotated throughout a larger space for shows. The building also has artist studio-rental opportunities, ranging from 200-2,800 square-foot areas.

“Quality over quantity is integral,” notes Rojas, who has degrees in Art History and Fine Art from George Washington University and worked for decades in art direction and set design in the South Florida film and TV industry. “The gallery is set up with a distinct layout, allowing viewers to genuinely contemplate and admire artworks as they move from one intimate gallery to another. 

“My intention is that [the gallery] be a must-see destination.”

July 10, 12-6pm

Mars Landing Galleries, 37 Library Street, Mars Hill. marslandinggalleries.com828-747-7267.

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