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Eye on Art: Dundee Gallery

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When it comes to tasteful art, there are countless opinions that can vary from person to person. Because of that variance, galleries must work diligently to provide pieces from a selection of artists that have broad appeal while still making time to highlight emerging and well-established artists. Jean Imray, owner of Dundee Gallery, has managed to do just that.



"I came from a background that was rooted heavily in non-profits," said Imray, "While working in that avenue I found myself coincidentally working with a variety of local artists at various events. Things just started to click". After leaving the realm of non-profits and taking a break from the work world, Imray moved on to what had become her surprise passion: owning her own art gallery.

Tucked beneath Marks restaurant in the Dundee neighborhood, Imray opened the doors to Dundee Gallery nearly three years ago. Approaching her third anniversary this coming April, Imray and her gallery have strongly latched on to the homegrown, local-first approach that so many Dundee area residents have incorporated into their daily lives.

"Because I wanted to create an atmosphere where people felt they were supporting their community and neighbors, I chose to focus the bulk of my work here on local artists, with occasional shows from people I know in the Kansas City and Des Moines area," Imray said.

Working mostly with family, close friends, and artists she knew from her previous work with non-profits, Imray has transformed an otherwise open storefront into a welcoming venue that displays the artistic stylings of more than 50 artists. In addition to the sheer number of artists that have their works hung on walls or placed on glass shelves, visitors to Dundee Gallery can choose from any number of artistic mediums. Glass, ceramics, sculpture, paintings and jewelry all have a spot behind the floor to ceiling front windows of Imrays storefront. "Like most people, I tend to like a little bit of everything," Imray said with a laugh, "There are a lot of places that choose to showcase a specific medium and big name artists, but I think its great that we have a wide selection here from local artists for visitors to see in one location."

"There are so many groups here in Omaha that need and deserve our support. This is my way of giving back to a part of my life that helped me get to where I am today."

-Jean Imray, owner of Dundee Gallery

And, if the variety of artists and mediums aren't enough to catch one's attention, there is also a wide range in price. Passersby during the long summer days can walk in and find a postcard created by their favorite painter for as little as three dollars, but those who choose to schedule a private gallery viewing can also find top of the line works priced for true arts connoisseurs. Both artists and art lovers benefit from Imray's business hours as well. In an effort to garner as much attention as possible for the artists she displays, Imray keeps her doors open until 9 p.m. five days a week. During Nebraskas longer summer night she said its not uncommon to welcome guests through the door as late as 10 o'clock at night if the mood strikes her.

"People have to work. They cant always make it in to a gallery that holds traditional gallery hours. Besides, when the warmer weather comes back the pieces we have here get a great deal of exposure to sidewalk traffic from all of the surrounding restaurants," said Imray.

Keeping with her drive to display the works of local artists, Imray said that she also looks to give back to the communities that spawn those artists creative talents. While she may not have a highlighted single artist showing every month, Imray's First Friday opening receptions all benefit a Metro area charity. The Omaha Creative Institute and Camp Fire USA Midlands Council are just two local organizations that have benefitted from the generosity of fans of both local artists and Dundee Gallery. Coming from a background mixed in both non-profit organizations and a love of undergraduate courses in studio art, Imray said that it just seemed like a natural thing to partner with groups like Omaha Creative Institute and other organizations meaningful to her shows artists.

"There are so many groups here in Omaha that need and deserve our support," Imray said, "This is my way of giving back to a part of my life that helped me get to where I am today."

-end- metroMAGAZINE

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