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Luna Fine Art Gallery – A Venue for Local Artists

Luna Fine Art Gallery – A Venue for Local Artists

Luna Fine Art Gallery - A Venue for Local Artists
Luna Fine Art Gallery - A Venue for Local Artists
Luna Fine Art Gallery - A Venue for Local Artists
Luna Fine Art Gallery - A Venue for Local Artists
Luna Fine Art Gallery - A Venue for Local Artists +8
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Luna Fine Art Gallery - A Venue for Local Artists

The Hilton Pensacola Beach – Home to Luna Fine Art Gallery – Has Become an Art-Scape and a Gallery Venue for Local Artists

When many people envision fine art installations and collections, they may immediately think of cities that host some of the largest and most famous art museums, such as Manhattan, Washington DC, and Chicago. For Lisa Puzon and Shaughnessy Johnson, the opportunity to manage a fine art gallery of their own has come to life on Pensacola Beach.

Among the beachfront bars, popular tourist spots, and souvenir shops sits the Hilton Hotel, now home to Pensacola’s newest and one of the most attractive displays of artistic showmanship on the gulf coast: Luna Fine Art Gallery.

Owned by Julian and Kim MacQueen, the Hilton has become an art-scape and a gallery venue for local artists so that their artwork may reach audiences otherwise lost. A display gallery and collection of fine art was something the owners of Innisfree hotels knew they wanted at each of their properties. The MacQueens’ have always been supporters of the arts and education, through their corporate social responsibility program, which includes Dixon School of Arts and Sciences. Lisa and Shaughnessy were already volunteers and teachers here, so Kim and Julian reached out to the couple for their extensive background in the fine art world artists, art dealers, and teachers.

Lisa and Shaughnessy are now involved in every part of the process when it comes to displaying established and emerging fine artists for the hotel gallery. They begin by interviewing local artists around town, in search of works of art that stand out. “We look for artists that are really unique, makes a statement, and are authentic. We want to continue to encourage artists to do what they are passionate about and really express who they are,” says Lisa Puzon, who is also an art therapist. “With the hotel, there are hundreds of people that come through all the time. That’s the one thing we can guarantee is exposure. And you never know who is going to come through and see it.”

Getting the attention of the people who view the exhibit is what Lisa and Shaughnessy want to achieve. Now, return guests of the hotel, look forward to the gallery’s new and upcoming series of exhibits.
For Shaughnessy, it’s his attention to detail when arranging the artwork that focuses on the guests. “The placement is usually about trying to create a certain way of navigating people through the gallery to where each piece or each artist can hold its own space regardless of if its a loud, free-spirited piece like Diane’s work and then you transition over into works that are a little more subtle like Kathy Breazeale.”
This allows each featured artist’s work to stand out in its own unique way. His wish for each exhibition arrangement is that each visitor slows their pace, allowing themselves to admire each creation from their own point of view.

After his transition from working at the N’Namdi Center for Contemporary Art in Chicago, Shaughnessy’s vision has now shifted to supporting and encouraging the local artists in the Pensacola community to continue their work, knowing that there is a space that will allow their voices to be heard and their collections to be seen.”We want just to give them that type of exposure that is well overdue. There are so many great artists here in Pensacola. We never say we discover artists. We say we support and encourage artists. The artist has always been there, we just happen to come across and have been able to give them the house to display and encourage and try to do as much as we can for them.”

Luna Fine Art Gallery made its debut in November 2017, featuring Pat and Kristen Regan, a mother/daughter artist team. Since opening, the gallery has also featured Maria Hoch and a unique installation appropriately named “Moonlighting,” giving current Innisfree and Hilton Hotels employees the chance to be the focus of the gallery, including painters, ceramists, and sculptors. The current exhibition, which runs January 26th – May 12th, features Exploring Minimalism by Kathy Breazeale, and Free Spirit, by Diane Brim

Lisa believes both the women’s artwork are high in contrast to each other and by providing an array of unique pieces for viewing, they will draw the attention of their guests and outside visitors. “The ladies are very different, and there is an art to really making it flow, and that is where my husband comes in, but we knew they would compliment each other.”

Kathy Breazeale, one of the featured artists in this exhibition, has always known that minimalism and abstracts were something that inspired her interest, which she truly began to explore after retiring.”I call my technique the karate kid where I wax on and wax off, I put the paint on, and I sometimes take alcohol sometimes water, sometimes a scraper, sometimes sandpaper and scrape off the layers and see what comes through.”

Using all water-based paints and a technique of recycling unused colors from the previous day onto a blank canvas, Kathy is able to harness her creative mind’s eye and produce new and masterful pieces, each with their own subtle and intimate message. This gives the audience a chance to create their own interpretation of Kathy’s work, allowing each viewer a personalized experience.

Kathy has also been familiar with the work of Diane Brim over the years and has since become friends with the free-spirit artist, who is also featured at Luna Fine Art Gallery during the current installation. Diane’s voice through art is a direct contrast to Kathy’s, as her canvas paintings are a true free-spirit art form. She utilizes bold colors, clashing lines, and found objects to create pieces that are a direct representation of her energetic personality. “I’ll just squirt paint out and don’t even think. It’s best if your brain just goes and you respond to the paint and the paint will speak to you. You can’t overthink it. You have to let the paint speak to you. Let the first stroke dictate the next stroke, and soon you’re on a path.” By allowing the paint to speak and guide her vision, Diane is able to create an abundance of contrasting color, texture, and lines — ranging from smooth and fine to coarse and uneven, all balancing together with the beauty and drama that is free-spirit.

Luna Fine Art Gallery has allowed local artists in Pensacola to embrace their talent, knowing they have a voice that is encouraged. Their second gallery can be found at the Mercantile Hotel, a boutique hotel in the heart of the art district in New Orleans. In each and every room, you can see nearly 300 framed photos of New Orleans, explicitly taken by Kristen Regan’s students. Going forward, there will be a variety of exhibitions and artist talks at Luna Fine Art Gallery, as well as honoring Delita Martin in celebration of Women’s Month.

Coastal Lifestyle Magazine.
Copyright 2019. All Rights Reserved.

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