Seager Gray Gallery is set to relocate from 23 Sunnyside Ave., where it’s been since November 2011, to 108 Throckmorton Ave., one of downtown’s most prominent locations, on September 1, with a grand opening event to follow on September 6.
“We’re so excited,” Seager says of the move, which adds some square footage, provides separate offices and a small outdoor space in the back. “It’s been really great for us here (at 24 Sunnyside) – we saw our business improve from the get-go when we moved to Mill Valley, and it has continued to grow from there.”
Seager Gray's move comes on the heels of the closure David Bina's furniture shop at 108 Throckmorton on June 29. Bina said he's moving his retail operation entirely online.
The gallery's move to the space marks the fifth business at 108 Throckmorton in the past two years. In February 2012, Yasmine McGrane closed her 9-year-old shop of French-inspired home and garden products to focus on web sales as well as a lifestyle book via Chronicle Books and a series of one-off events. Boutique clothing shop Showroom moved into the space that same month from its former digs at 30 Miller Ave., moving to San Francisco in 2013. Bina opened up a "curated interiors" shop in the fall of 2013 with Carie Meier called David Carie, but quickly went solo and changed the name to his own moniker.
Seager, a Novato resident who has been a fixture in the art scene for more than 35 years, including a 10-year stint at Robert Green Fine Arts, says she’s thrilled to see her gallery grow, particularly given its journey over the past nine years.
Seager Gallery opened on Fourth Street in San Rafael in 2005. During the recession, the always-tough art business became downright lethargic. Lucky for Seager, her loyal supporters – both artists and patrons – rallied to her side, holding a fundraiser to help her stay afloat until the economy rebounded.
“It brings a tear to my eye every time I say it,” she says. “I have gone back to those people to thank them and let them know that they kept me open. That’s unheard of.”
Soon after, Gray, who lives in downtown Mill Valley, began working for Seager, quickly establishing herself as much more than an employee.
“The success of the gallery has a ton to do with Suzanne,” Seager says. “She brought skills to the table that I didn’t really have – she’s a natural gallerist – this has been a great partnership.”
The pair became partners in the Seager Gray Gallery when they moved to Mill Valley in late 2011, a shift southward that drew a bigger audience. Seager says the gallery saw a 30 percent spike from its first year to its second in Mill Valley – “and even more than that since then.”
“People like to come to Mill Valley and the clients we brought with us from San Rafael have been very happy to follow us," she says, adding that their active in involvement in the San Francisco Art Dealer's Association and the San Francisco Center for the Book has helped. "And our reputation has really grown over the years as well.”
“We’re interested in art that combines content with a mastery of materials,” Seager adds, noting their focus on books – both handmade books and altered books, i.e., things made out of books. “Craftsmanship is sometimes a bad word in the art world – we happen to love it, and we call it ‘mastery of materials.’”
Seager Gray will celebrate its new location with a Sept. 6 grand opening and reception for oil painter Chris Gwaltney’s “Time Is…” exhibit.
Seager says they’re working with an as-yet-unnamed potential subtenant to take over their space at 23 Sunnyside for the rest of their lease through March 2015.