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New Galleries At WEF Feature Horse-Themed Art
#1 Posted : Friday, February 24, 2012 4:21:58 PM(UTC)

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From the TOWN-CRIER Online ...

New Galleries At WEF Feature Horse-Themed Art

Jessica Gregoire
February 24, 2012

Bringing culture to Wellington, this year’s Winter Equestrian Festival features fine equestrian-themed art on display. Horse and art aficionados are able to view and purchase art from numerous artistic styles.

There are three art galleries located inside the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. Each gallery — one at the Wellington Club, one at the International Club and one at the Gallery Nightclub — features horse-themed art in various media, from photographs to Impressionist paintings, representing an array of artists from around the world.

The idea of having art galleries at WEF was developed by Wellington Equestrian Partners’ Katherine Bellissimo in an effort to bring more culture to Wellington. “Culture is always good, but I think it’s a little bit harder to find it in the South Florida environment,” she said. “It’s a newer environment than places in the northeast, where culture is more accessible because there are more museums and such.”

For Bellissimo, the equestrian center presented the perfect canvas to create a more artistically cultural atmosphere.

“Our exhibitors and spectators spend a lot of time here, every single day for four to six months. For them to have access to something a little different from their normal routine, with a little culture, is good for them,” she said. “I also believe this is good for the general public, who are starting to come out more often. This is a good way to get even more of them to come and experience the show grounds.”

Bellissimo has also incorporated a visit to the art galleries as part of the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center tours. The tours are led by coordinator Barbara Lang, who takes groups averaging 40 people through the show grounds.

The tours are given from Wednesday through Sunday, and they allow the general public access to the show grounds, along with a meal.

“The idea of the tour came from people who were not entirely comfortable coming to the show grounds on their own yet,” Bellissimo said. “This is more of a structured way for them to do it. And this is our way of helping the public gain more access to the show grounds.”

The Wellington Club features photography from artist Shelli Breidenbach. Breidenbach offered her services, creating specially designed large-scale photos of stunning horses printed on flag fabric and featured on the walls of the club.

“We have it suspending from the glass so that the light goes through them, and it’s absolutely beautiful to see,” Bellissimo said.

The Gallery Nightclub also features equestrian artist paintings. “I was approached by one of the equestrian artists, Patricia Powers, with the idea of creating an art gallery,” Bellissimo recalled. “With that idea, we decided to create a location, where during the day it was an art gallery and in the evening it turned into a nightclub.”

The International Club now features art from Cross Gate Gallery, a Lexington, Ky.-based art showplace owned by Field Ladd and his family. Cross Gate Gallery features horse-themed art from many international artists. The gallery began participating at WEF four years ago and began featuring its art pieces here three years ago.

Cross Gate Gallery is well-known among equestrians for its variety of art, from contemporary to traditional pieces. “We have been doing a show in Saratoga for 40 years, since my father opened the gallery,” Ladd said.

Ladd and his family decided to branch out of the horse racing world in Kentucky, and worked with Bellissimo to feature some of the gallery’s pieces at WEF.

“Many of the top-notch riders are stationed here during the winter,” Ladd said. “So it was either sit in Kentucky and be cold or come down and get in front of a new group of equestrian enthusiasts.”

The art that Cross Gate Gallery features at WEF is different from the art showcased in its Kentucky gallery. With 75 paintings on display, the art is more contemporary, colorful and less traditional in composition. “It’s a totally different crowd, taste and appreciation of art down here,” Ladd said.

Some of the biggest names in equestrian art are featured at the gallery, and they include Andre Pater, Larry Wheeler, Kristin Knight, Jo Taylor and Peter Howell. “Some of our artists have begun to adapt their work for Wellington, upon our request,” Ladd said.

Although the style is more contemporary in Wellington, Cross Gate Gallery also brings a few classic styles. “We try to bring some more traditional pieces because there are still some people who are interesting in the 19th-century sporting paintings as opposed to the contemporary styles,” he said.

The art at the Cross Gate Gallery International Club location comes in a variety of prices. “We try and bring all price ranges. Someone can buy a painting for $1,000 or thousands of dollars. It’s pretty much about what you’re looking for,” Ladd said. “We don’t have anything that is over-the-moon expensive.”

Ladd assists people in choosing perfect pieces for filling equestrian homes.

“People who bought big homes down here and want to fill them with something different and say, ‘I want something big, colorful and something different, and this is what I want to spend,’” he said. “I help them find what’s right for them, and it has been really fun.”

The Palm Beach International Equestrian Center is located at 14440 Pierson Road, Wellington. For more information, visit www.equestriansport.com or call (561) 793-5867.



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