Arts and Entertainment

A new Vashon gallery is a labor of love for its artful owners

Matt and Mandy Musclerat are the owners of Spiral Gallery. - Courtesy photo
Matt and Mandy Musclerat are the owners of Spiral Gallery.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

Art lovers out on the First Friday gallery cruise will have a new stop this month. A new gallery, specializing in affordable, functional art, has opened at the intersection of Vashon Highway and Cemetery Road.

The new art space, dubbed Spiral Gallery, will join two other specialty businesses, Sea Change Tattoos and Francisco’s Barber Shop, as tenants at the historic Old Fuller Store at Center. The gallery occupies the space that most recently housed Stranger Than Fiction book store.

Mandy and Matt Musclerat, a West Seattle couple, are the gallery’s owners, and this is the pair’s first venture into the art business.

But both are artists, with a wide circle of creative friends in Seattle and beyond.

They decided to open the gallery after being encouraged to take a look at the space by Paco Rollins, who owns Sea Change Tattoos and has known the Musclerats for more than a dozen years.

“We were getting tattooed by Paco, and he said, ‘You should open an art gallery across the hall,’” said Matt, as he showed a visitor around the gallery, which was filled with an eclectic assortment of handmade candles, found art assemblages, paintings, pottery, photography and jewelry.

He also introduced the gallery’s enthusiastic unofficial mascot and greeter, Stellaluna, a 1-year-old Basenji and Jack Russell terrier mix.

Mandy’s art is prominently featured in the shop. A prolific self-taught artist, she specializes in collages, mannequin art, tile mosaic furniture, found object sculpture and jewelry.

Matt credited his wife with being the creative force behind the new gallery, and at the same time, he gave a hint as to how the pair came up with the gallery’s name.

“Mandy has been creating art since she was a little kid,” he said. “She’s always creating something. If we go on a camping trip, she’ll make rock spirals on the picnic table.”

But while Mandy provides much of the gallery’s artwork and inspiration, she won’t be working there as frequently as Matt. For the time being, she’s keeping her day job — working at a Trader Joe’s in Kirkland.

Matt described the main aim of the gallery as providing a haven for “funky, original artists who pursue their own muse,” and said he’s eager to meet members of the local arts community.

“We’re looking to support local artists through consignment,” he said.

The gallery current roster includes 15 artists, and all their work will be on display at the First Friday art walk from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, June 4.

The gallery’s Web site, www.spiralgallery37.com, promises that the gallery will offer artwork “37 light years beyond the ordinary,” but at the same time, Matt said, the gallery will be affordable and accessible to every customer.

“We’re trying to make art a part of everyday life,” he said, adding that many items in the gallery will be priced at $37, a nod to the fact that both he and Mandy are 37 years old.

He also said he is hopeful the gallery will establish itself as a fixture on the Island’s art scene.

“People have asked us, ‘Is it going to work?’” he said. “We said, ‘We don’t know ’til we try.’”

Spiral Gallery, located at 19603 Vashon Hwy. S.W., is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays. Call (206) 437-3718 or visit its Web site, www.spiralgallery37.com, for more information.

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