When most people think of art galleries, a formal space may come to mind. Anseth Richards isn’t most people. The La Jolla High School graduate, who owns and operates two event companies, Creative Occasions and Bridal Bar, has blended the art world and the event world into one at her brand new art gallery, The Art Nest.
“I wanted to own a small event space and I was trying to decide what would really draw people to the space,” Richards said. “An art gallery popped into my head and the whole idea took off.”
Richards mentioned the idea to an artist friend who spread the word. Thanks to word of mouth, it was just three weeks from the idea conception to the soft opening of the gallery in the first week of November.
Unlike other galleries in La Jolla, The Art Nest doubles as an event space for everything from birthday parties to fundraisers and private art shows. Richards formatted the business model after her other business, Bridal Bar, which is a wedding concierge service that connects brides with vendors of all types by hosting events and previews for maximum exposure. Richards treats her artists similarly, helping them sell their art by drawing people to the gallery through events. Just last week, The Art Nest hosted an event for the LJHS Madrigals which raised more than $2800. The gallery also sold more than 13 pieces in the week before Christmas alone.
“I wanted to create a boutique event gallery, where couples who are engaged can throw parties or rehearsal dinners, and we could host all types of events,” Richards said. “My feeling was the best way to sell art is through exposure.”
Richards has also created the gallery as a shared creative co-op with 23 artists. The type of art showcased in the gallery ranges drastically. She has crocheted jewelry, oil paintings and ceramics, but the one thing that they all have in common is that they’re created by local artists. And as much as residents are eager to check out the art, local artists are eager to become a part of the co-op.
“Every day I have artists walking in and wanting to join. I have a waiting listing but I’ve had to stop adding people to it,” Richards said.
Artists who are selected to be a part of the co-op initially sign a three-month contract. After the contract is complete, they can choose to sign on again, or end their time with 30-day-notice, much like a leasing agreement. There is no limit to how long an artist can participate and The Art Nest does not require exclusivity.
“There are a lot of creative people who want a place to call their own, and that’s what is different about [The Art Nest],” Richards said. “We’re not representing artists, they’re a tenant in a shared space, and they’re part of a creative experience.”
In addition to being open for events, The Art Nest has public viewing hours Tuesday through Friday from noon - 5pm and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. In the future, Richards hopes to open the gallery on Sundays to host various art classes. The Art Nest is located at 5648 La Jolla Blvd., La Jolla, CA 92037.