New Beginnings

New Beginnings

When the “For Sale” sign came down and Michael Kline’s art gallery sign went back up on Main Street, I was curious. What happened in the several months between closing and reopening the gallery, now under the name M. Kline Art ? And what prompted the desire to sell in the first place?

The story of how the gallery started has already been told, but to understand the end, you need to understand the beginning. To briefly recap: Michael originally opened the gallery to fulfill a dream he and his wife had long held. With his wife’s death, he sold their home, opened Galerie Oiseoux, and posted regular hours. 

He soon found he needed time for himself that didn’t include a 9 to 5 schedule. He also found someone to share his life, leaving him no reason to have a potential living space on Main Street. More importantly, he felt he was letting down the people and other businesses in Wilton’s Main Street community by running a retail shop that didn’t honor posted hours. The “For Sale” sign went up.

Kline ArtIt didn’t take long to realize he missed the space that had inspired him from the first moment he saw it. He had several offers to purchase it, but none felt right. He was holding on to it for some, as yet, unknown reason. It finally dawned on him that he missed being part of this Wilton community, missed having this gallery and missed this working space; a space “that just felt good.” He started moving things back in the first week of December.

Now he ‘s returned with a plan. He will have no posted hours. When the flags are outside, he’ll be inside. If people want to visit his gallery when he’s not there, he’ll be happy to set up appointments, even spur of the moment ones, if they can wait 20 minutes for him to drive to the shop. 

Mike Kline artThe gallery itself is a composition that envelopes you. Perhaps the place to start viewing his eclectic, often bird-filled work would be in the back left corner where Michael has hung a few of his photos. The way he observes life through his lens is a reflection of the way he creates art - simply, organically, naturally, powerfully, peacefully and calmly.

Each space in the gallery has a unique feel. The room with large collage works, created either from hymnal pages or old letters written in French, grabbed my attention.

Michael led me to a book, “The Quilts of Gees Bend.” In it were Photos of powerful, abstractly patterned quilts, created decades ago in Georgia. These are what had inspired the collage pieces I admired.

Michael’s plan extends beyond running a gallery and creating art for himself or as commissions. He also will be holding a series of creative workshops on everything from basketry, relief carving, collage and assemblage to toy and candle making for both adults or children, including home schoolers. After teaching art for 25 years in Waldorf Schools, he hopes to guide students into finding new creative voices.

Mike Kline artHis workshop is set up at the rear of the gallery, overlooking the river, a perfect spot for creative inspiration and the tranquility an artist needs when deeply immersed in a project.

The shop will be used in one other manner. Michael has offered former resident and dancer, Jayne Persch, who recently returned to Wilton, a place to teach Tai Chi once a week. He is also “cautiously looking at” other collaborative uses that will “breathe life” back into the space that won’t change its calming ambiance in any way.

Town’s people will be happy to learn that 2024 will arrive with two former residents ringing in the New Year by celebrating new beginnings in Wilton.

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