Two of the most recent are GALERIe at 5629 La Jolla Blvd. and The Art Nest at 5648 La Jolla Blvd.
The owners of both new hybrid galleries say their existence is indicative of the neighborhood’s growing cultural and artistic awareness.
“Over the last year or two art galleries are just booming,” said Sejla Holland of GALERIe. “It’s starting to reflect the community.”
A Bosnian expatriate, Holland, who’s lived in Bird Rock for 15 years, previously owned an art gallery in Laguna Beach. She opted to close that one and open a local space last September because she wanted to bring her art “closer to home” and make it more “focused on the community.”
Meanwhile, Anseth Richards, owner of Art Nest, saw a niche that could be filled with her business experience.
“I wanted to open a cooperative art gallery with shared creative space for artists complimenting my existing wedding business, The Bridal Bar,” said Richards, who is a former La Jolla Realtor. “Artists rent space out of the back of our building and it’s very affordable.”
Richards said her shared gallery space at The Art Nest forms a synergy with her other enterprises, which include a nonprofit promoting women’s health resources, The National Cheers Foundation.
“I got the idea (for Art Nest) working with brides and generations of women realizing how stressful things are for women and how they tend to things for everyone else other than themselves,” she said, noting each of her businesses “kind of helps the other in a circle.”
Richards said she chose to put “nest” in the name of her new gallery because it’s a metaphor suggesting her desire to incubate local art within the community.
As for Holland, she said the gallery’s unusually spelled name connotes the originality of its contents.
“We have an eclectic combination of art, design, furniture, and clothing and fashion,” she said. “It’s not your typical gallery where it’s just one medium. That’s what makes it different: You can shop for a piece of art or a beautiful outfit.”
Holland said all the clothing sold at GALERIe is either handmade or composed of organic fabrics.
Besides renting space for local artists to exhibit, Richards’ multifunctional space is also available for hosting a wide range of fundraising events — everything from wine tastings and educational seminars to Christmas parties. For a cost of $250 an hour, she’ll even throw in her own complimentary event-planning services.
“The Art Nest is a venue, and we can have small parties up to about 60 people for two to four hours,” she said. “We’ll help you line up what you need — a sound system, entertainment, catering, invitations, etc. It’s a very unique space.”
Holland, who has brought much of her art down with her from Laguna Beach, said she’s in the process of converting GALERIe to a more local focus.
“We really want to promote local artists, whether they’re designers or jewelry makers or photographers,” she said. “We want them to be able to showcase their work. I’m looking to start engaging more local artists, either from La Jolla or elsewhere in the San Diego community.”
For more information about GALERIe, call (858) 869-4196. For information about Art Nest, visit the gallery’s Facebook page.