If you’ve lived here most of your life and you’re older than 40, you probably remember Sonny Bellack’s auto repair shop. Back in the day, Sonny was an excellent mechanic who worked in a dilapidated lean-to garage that, 30 years after his death, remained a rather picturesque, photographic junk pile until architect and engineer Carl Sanders came along, cleared the site, and erect an attractive brick building where the “Suburban Soul” used to be located.
But enough history. Today, I have good news for anyone who, like myself, enjoys modern art. The building is now home for a furniture and art gallery and friends, after writing these wayward columns for 15-plus years, I can honestly declare, without reservation, that Studio 54 has gathered together the finest collection of artistic work I’ve ever seen in Enumclaw. (You may recall a rather famous, cocaine-fueled, New York nightclub during the early 1970s that had the same name, but let me assure you the name is the only thing the two places have in common.)
I’ve been in art galleries all over this country – including some of the most prestigious salons in New York, the apex of the art world – and I can honest declare, again without reservation, that Studio 54 has not only the finest art collection I’ve seen in Enumclaw, it has one of the finest collections I’ve seen in any gallery anywhere in the country, period. What brought such an astonishing show to our mossy little corner of the world is beyond me.
The artists come from all over the state and they work in all kinds of media; i.e., sculptures in various materials, woodwork, ceramics, oils, watercolors, textile, and photography. I suspect Studio 54 will eventually attract customers and art aficionados from all around the country. It certainly should.
At any particular time, there may be dozens of artists on display. There are currently 37. Of course, that’s far too many for this feeble column to explore on an individual bases. Suffice to say, our local artists are well represented; for example, oil paintings by Gary LaTurner, copper work by Robin Kahne and lovely chrome abstract sculptures by Bruce Holmes. There are some beautiful and mysterious, iron, sword-and-sorcery, Titan masks created by Ross Brown. Award-winning textile artist Terry Horton exhibits her customized, ornate draperies. To mention a few others who are a bit farther from home, John Harvey is a student from the Chihuly glass-blowing school and he’s produced some foot-square glass “ice cubes,” arranged like they’re setting in a giant shot-glass, so realistic it’s surprising to find they aren’t cold and actually melting. There are some heavy, impressive steel sculptures by Olympia artists Margo Westfall and Don Lozett. The unique, innovative furniture is hand-made by skilled craftsmen, including some by Kahne.
The gallery can arrange meetings between artists and clients. The artists are only too willing to design furnishings and art for a specific residence or corporate, commercial setting.
But, as with any worthwhile art gallery, the business dealings take second billing to the art itself. Trust me on this one, friends. Check this place out.