The Hippo


Jul 22, 2019








Kelley Stelling Contemporary 

Address: 221 Hanover St., Manchester 
Gallery hours: Thursday and Friday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
More info:, 345-1779 
Upcoming exhibitions
“Pairings” - on view Thursday, Oct. 19 through Sunday, Nov. 12. Opening reception Thursday, Oct. 19, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. 
“Report from the Front” - on view Thursday, Nov. 16, through Sunday, Dec. 10. Opening reception Thursday, Nov. 16, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. 
“Small Kingdoms” - on view Thursday, Dec. 14, through Sunday, Jan. 14, opening reception Thursday, Dec. 14, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. 

Breaking boundaries
Contemporary art gallery opens in Manchester

By Angie Sykeny

 Two art lovers have set out to invigorate downtown Manchester’s art scene with a new gallery that will feature the work of emerging contemporary artists. 

Kelley Stelling Contemporary, located at 221 Hanover St., opens with its inaugural exhibition “Pairings” on Thursday, Oct. 19. 
The gallery’s founders, Karina Kelley and Bill Stelling, became friends while serving on the Currier Museum Advisory Council. 
“Bill and I have been kicking the idea [of opening a gallery] around for quite a while,” Kelley said. “We were both looking to do something creative that used our abilities and brought something that Manchester was lacking, and we saw that there were no serious art galleries around here showing contemporary artwork.” 
The 1,300-square-foot space will display thought-provoking contemporary “art that pushes the envelope,” Kelley said, with a variety of 2D and 3D media represented. 
The “Pairings” exhibition will spotlight the work of six contemporary local and regional artists; Kelley and Stelling chose three artists and asked each of them to invite one additional artist to be featured alongside them. The collection will include pieces like needlepoint mugshots, paintings done on aluminum and copper canvases and tattoo art-inspired illustrations. 
“A lot of galleries in this area cater to more traditional tastes, with landscape paintings and that kind of thing, but we’re showing art that’s a little edgier,” Stelling said. “Some of it might make people a little uncomfortable and make them wonder what the artist is trying to express.” 
On Thursday, Nov. 16, the gallery will unveil its second exhibition “Report from the Front,” featuring four artists — two from New Hampshire, one from New Orleans and one from New York — whose work possesses underlying meaning relevant to current world events. 
“We’re not getting into this as a New Hampshire or New England gallery, only showing [artists from] a selective geographic area or art with restricted subject matter,” Kelley said. “We want to have a range of where the artists are from and where they are in their careers, and a range of art and mediums and price points. It will be a breath of fresh air for people who collect art in New Hampshire.” 
Kelley and Stelling are having no difficulty finding artists to show in the gallery, Stelling said; they have formed numerous relationships with artists during their years of work in the arts community. 
Kelley, who holds a degree in fine arts and art history, has worked in arts marketing for over a decade, chairing the Currier Museum of Art’s 2017 Annual Fundraising Gala and serving as the vice president for the Kimball Jenkins School of Art’s board of directors and as a committee member for the New Hampshire Institute of Art’s Annual Gala. 
Stelling, who currently sits on the New Hampshire State Council for the Arts, founded Fun Gallery and directed 56 Bleecker NY gallery in New York City and most recently collaborated on ArtFront, a newly formed arts organization that hosts pop-up multimedia art shows in Manchester. 
Word of the new galley has been generating plenty of excitement, especially among local contemporary artists for whom, until now, there were no nearby galleries that welcomed their style of artwork. 
“There’s this whole network [of contemporary artists] who work separately but have a common vision about their artwork,” Stelling said. “Once you talk to one artist and tell them what you’re doing, they get excited and tell you about other artists whose work they admire, and you end up making all these amazing connections.” 
One of the larger goals in opening the gallery, Stelling said, is to contribute to the recent “revival” of Hanover Street — the street has seen several new restaurants and businesses open over the past year — and to provide a new destination for people to visit in downtown. 
“There’s an influx of young people moving back to downtown and revitalizing the city, and while there are some very good restaurants, people want to do more than eat. They want to hang out,” he said. “So we’re trying to fill a cultural gap and create a visually interesting focal point in downtown where people can gather.” 

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