About 8 short blocks from my AirBnB, in the charming French Quarter of Charleston is Robert Lange Studios (RLS). This 5,000 square foot gallery is one of 40 galleries that call Charleston home and has been rated #1 gallery in the city for the last 4 years. And it's clear why it's loved by the town and visitors when you step through the doors.
Owners, Robert and Megan Lange have created something truly special. Since they opened the doors 16 years ago (when they had just graduated from art school), they had a mission of making art accessible to EVERYONE. And through the years they've evolved that mantra to make art an "experience" for everyone.
Like most galleries, the walls are lined with 2-D paintings and drawings and sculpture-filled pedestals dot the space. But that's pretty much where the similarities end. You'll find artists at work painting in at least 2 working studios. There are couches and comfy chairs throughout to encourage contemplation and conversation. Kids are offered their very own sketchbook and pencil. And there's a grand piano with an invitation for anyone to play.
And then there are the surprises...
- A swing
- An actual elephant in the room
- A table that endlessly creates new designs
- A Smith Corona and paper to type your own love letter or haiku
- A button to change the world
- An invitation to look at the world differently
Happy energy permeates RLS, and I'm forever grateful to have my Artist in Residency here.
My Studio in the Gallery
For the rest of January and February (and an extension into March), the Langes have set aside a beautiful light-filled room for me to work. It's inspirational to be working in the space. And after a year of feeling a bit oppressed by the severe COVID restrictions in San Francisco, I feel like new energy is rushing back.