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Ormond Beach Observer Wednesday, Jul. 7, 2021 1 year ago

Arts on Granada bids Ormond Beach goodbye

Gallery owner Gregory Graham Grant is ready for his next chapter in promoting the arts in the community, this time in Daytona Beach.
by: Jarleene Almenas Senior Editor

After four-and-a-half years in downtown Ormond Beach, Arts on Granada will be moving to a new location in Daytona Beach.

Gallery owner Gregory Graham Grant said his business has had a nice run here in Ormond, where the arts community has been able to create a great local scene, but that the opportunity presented itself to occupy the space at 230 S. Beach St., which would triple his gallery and classroom space. 

With the city of Daytona Beach promoting more pedestrian traffic to its downtown district, the decision to move from the gallery space at 67 W. Granada Blvd. was the right one for his business.

“[Pedestrian traffic] is key to revitalizing an old district, an old retro district, and that’s exactly what they’ve done," Grant said.

Arts on Granada opened in December 2016 and often collaborates with other galleries and area businesses in events like Ormond Beach MainStreet Arts District's monthly art walk. The gallery also hosts the ArtQuest School of Art and Design, which Grant founded in 1988.

A gallery with a french twist

The new gallery in Daytona Beach will be called Galerie Elan, playing on a retro French theme. Grant is also planning to house a cafe within the gallery that will offer coffee, wine and pastries. 

“What Elan means in French is vigorous enthusiasm, movement, forward drive," Grant said. "Style. So, it’s a great name.”

Grant began his art career at 9 years old when he entered his first public art show, according to his artist bio. After graduating from East Carolina University in 1982, he worked in the art gallery business in the Washington D.C. area, climbing up the ladder until he became a director of a firm that owned 10 galleries. Because of his connections at the time, he was commissioned to paint former U.S Secretary of Labor William J. Usery's portrait. He worked as an executive portrait artist for about 30 years, though his heart lies with painting wildlife. 

The Ormond Beach resident has exhibited his work in festivals, as well as as solo and group exhibitions in galleries and museums.

Arts on Granada is the fourth gallery he's owned, acquired from former owner Megan Corbett. It currently features 35 artists.

“Now, we’re going to continue to the next chapter," Grant said. "We’re going to enlarge it. We’re going to continue to perpetuate this legacy — the legacy she created in the name of cultural arts and literacy.”

Grant hopes to open Gallerie Elan sometime in the fall. 

Support local

Though his gallery will no longer be located in the city of Ormond Beach, Grant will continue to serve on the board of directors of the Ormond Beach Arts District.

Their work on the board isn't territorial, he said; the purpose is to promote the arts throughout central Florida, and the move to Daytona Beach will enable him to feature more artists. 

Gallery owners, Grant said, are the "gladiators" of the arts industry. Without benefactors to keep them open, galleries often rely on another source of income to keep them going. For Grant, that is his ArtQuest school. Nevertheless, as long as you're an advocate for artists, that further solidifies art's place in the community, he explained. 

That's why he's a big supporter of both shopping local and supporting local artists.

“Art is not about decoration," Grant said. "It’s not about entertainment and it’s not about recreation. It’s about art for art’s sake — being able to connect with something that resonates from within, that’s something that will bring you joy, something that will be an extension of your own passions. You buy something because you love it, not because it looks good with your sofa.”

Ormond's art scene is active, but the downtown district is constrained because of its frontage on Granada Boulevard, the city's main artery, Grant said. It's charming as it is, he added, but bringing in pedestrian traffic is an ongoing issue. To fix that, the long-range plan of the arts district is to someday make New Britain Avenue the main cultural artery.

“I would love to see that happen, and we’ll do everything we can to advocate for that to happen, but as a business man, the opportunity is much greater elsewhere," Grant said. said.

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