New art gallery on Hanover Street to feature work of emerging artists

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Bill Stelling, left, and Karina Kelley are preparing to launch the Kelley Stelling Contemporary gallery space on Hanover Street.

MANCHESTER, NH – A new gallery space is coming to Hanover Street, expanding the city’s status as a hub of the creative arts.

Bill Stelling and Karina Kelley are in the process of renovating the former Salon Rella at 221 Hanover St., transforming it into the Stelling Kelley Contemporary, an art gallery which will feature the work of emerging New England-based 2D and 3D artists.

Future home of Kelley Stelling Contemporary art gallery, 221 Hanover St.

Stelling and Kelley are both members of the Currier Museum Advisory Council, and struck up a friendship, which has led to this artistic venture, says Stelling.

“We want to present new works by emerging artists from New Hampshire and northern New England. We understand that many people are not comfortable in a gallery setting, and want to create an unpretentious, approachable environment for both artists and new collectors.
We’re opening October 12th with a three-day event organized in collaboration with ArtFront, says Stelling.
ArtFront was a pop-up gallery/performance center created at the Brady Sullivan Plaza back in March.
Look for the Kelley Stelling Contemporary to feature art, sculpture, music and dance culled from the region’s rich urban environment. Performers will include Ghanaian drummers, classically trained dancers, Slam Free or Die poets, historic graffiti photos, and an art show curated in conjunction with a transgender artist. There will be a monthly exhibition, performances, and panel discussions on topics relevant to Manchester and the broader art world

Below is more on Stelling and Kelley, and their venture, taken from the gallery website. We’ll keep you posted as the gallery opening gets a little closer.

Kelley Stelling Contemporary is a gallery dedicated to the presentation of works by emerging artists in 2D and 3D formats.  Drawing upon the deep pool of talent both in New England and the wider art world, KS Contemporary will be a locus for dialogue about art’s place in the community, and the need to nurture, educate and expose its possibilities to a broad mix of artists, collectors and art lovers. 

Based in downtown Manchester, Kelley Stelling Contemporary will provide a much-needed venue for an underserved audience.  As part of downtown’s revival, Kelley Stelling Contemporary will collaborate with area businesses to expose residents and visitors to the rich cultural offerings of Manchester.  

Bill Stelling brings extensive gallery experience to Kelley Stelling Contemporary. He founded the Fun Gallery in New York City in the early 1980s with Patti Astor. The gallery was an early showcase for the careers of Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring, among many other notable artists. He was director of a subsequent gallery, 56 Bleecker NY, and is curating a retrospective exhibition of its artists at Howl Happening, a non-profit space in lower Manhattan. Most recently, he collaborated in ArtFront NH, a pop-up art and performance event in Manchester. Bill also sits on the NH State Council for the Arts, and the Currier Museum Advisory Council.

Karina Kelley has a degree in fine arts and art history. Having worked in marketing for many years, she understands the changing relationship that galleries have with their audiences. Her social media skills will bring a unique perspective to the gallery. In 2017, she chaired the Currier Museum of Art’s Annual Fundraising Gala, which attracted important members of the arts and business community, and raised a significant sum for art education. Kelley previously served as Vice President for the Kimball Jenkins School of Art’s Board of Directors, and as a committee member for the NH Institute of Art Annual Gala. At present, she is serving as an Advisory Council member for the New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA).

When not working at the gallery or doing studio visits Karina can be found curled up with her Great Dane, Arlo, or cooking up a storm. Karina believes that art doesn’t have to be stuffy and can be accessible to people from all backgrounds and is working to make sure that contemporary artists and collectors can form a community right here in New Hampshire.

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Longtime NH journalist and publisher of Loves R&B, German beer, and the Queen City!