POUND RIDGE, N.Y. – Sue Grissom looked around the Lionheart Gallery and smiled.
“It’s like having Chelsea in Pound Ridge,” she said.
Grissom, the art gallery’s director, just oversaw a major renovation of the building, which recently was completed.
“The owner loves contemporary art,” Grissom said. “We decided that the gallery would have good, quality contemporary and modern art.”
The shift toward modern art exhibits is what precipitated the renovations – changing the space from a folksy atmosphere that was more closed in to one with a spacious, wide-open contemporary feel. That was accomplished by removing the second floor from the building and creating a two-story space.
“The ceiling was just too low and was hard to do anything with it,” Grissom said. “The building needed new life. This space now has much cleaner lines. The floor is polished concrete and it has a great feeling to it. I can’t believe it’s here.”
The renovation took about nine months to complete. During that phase, Grissom ran the gallery out of Sally Green’s photography and law offices on Westchester Avenue.
Grissom originally came to the Lionheart Gallery when it was owned by Bonnie Bieder. She worked on the gallery’s website and did the marketing. When Bieder became terminally ill several years ago, she asked Grissom to stay on and help find a new owner for the gallery.
“I did [find a new owner] and they kept me on,” Grissom said.
Grissom went back to school to learn how to be a curator and has been the director at Lionheart for about three years.
“Before that, I was self-employed as an internationally based decorative painter,” she said. “It was great fun.”
Lionheart features painters, photographers and sculptors from all over the world. Yet, it is the local artists the gallery exhibits from time to time that really gets Grissom excited.
“We have artists from Fairfield and some Pound Ridge artists too,” she said. “We’ve had exhibits by Max Marinucci, who owns Wine Connection here in Pound Ridge.”
Though the gallery is miles from the epicenter of the art scene in New York City, Grissom says its openings draw crowds of art aficionados from all over the region.
“We get people who come up from the city whenever we have openings,” she said. “We are trying to make Pound Ridge a destination town. We are starting to get some stories written about us in magazines.
“I just love Pound Ridge," she added. "I’ve lived here about 11 years and it’s by far the most favorite town I’ve lived in.”
The Lionheart Gallery, 27 Westchester Ave, will open a new exhibit Nov. 18 featuring the works of Westport, Conn. painter Claudia Mengel. For more information, call 914-764-8689 or visit http://www.thelionheartgallery.com/.