The Thirty-A Review July 2020

l o c a l g a l l e r y

Curate b y R y a n L o f t i s

nections between them and clients seems to have worked. In fact, “Some cli- ents even schedule their va- cation time around the dates certain artists will be in town.” Curate has approx- imately two dozen featured artists. Selecting the artists comes naturally now for Handler, who has been in the business more than 25 years: “I have to love the work and I have to love the artist. Having a close, friendly business relation-

ship with all of our artists is very important to me.” Art- ists range from emerging to more well-established and hail from all over the United States, as well as from Eu- rope and beyond. Some foreign-born artists, like Simon Kenevan from London, eventually came to the United States, while others, like Nicoletta Belletti, who lives and works in Parma, Italy, did not. During their careers, the featured artists have created paintings, glass sculptures, copper sculptures, wood sculptures, bronze frogs, and kaleidoscopes. While the Handlers currently divide their time between Atlanta and 30-A, they plan to start spending more time in Florida each year and ultimately make the Sunshine State their permanent residence. The Curate team currently has four members and hopes to add one more with the gallery’s long hours. “Five to me seems to be the sweet spot. I don’t want anyone on my team to ever get burned out,” he says. “My business model in Atlanta has always centered on community and my team strives to be supportive, active members and contribute on many levels. We participate in charity events and are interested in seeing our communities thrive and grow. That certainly applies to Rosemary Beach as well. We just love it here, and the chance to offer something special to visitors and full-time residents alike is something we are not only grateful for, but take great pride in. My goal is to continue to bring new and exciting art to the walls of Curate and be a longstanding fixture in the Rosemary Beach community.”

W hat inspired Gary Handler and his wife Cindy, already the owners of two art galleries in Atlanta, to open a third one, Curate, in Rosemary Beach? It started when Handler became enamored with 30-A while attending the Destin Charity Wine Auction and he decided it would be a good vacation spot for his family. “We started to try out different areas of 30-A

and then we discovered and fell in love with Rosemary Beach,” Handler says. “We started having thoughts of spending more time down here than just an annual vacation, and during one of our visits, I discovered a gallery space that was becoming available and felt it was the perfect location—in the heart of Rosemary, directly across the street from The Pearl Hotel—for the personality of our brands and how we do business. Not wanting to let the space get away, we acted quickly, and then our dream came true when we opened up Curate. It all happened fast, but definitely feels like it was meant to be.” Just what is Curate’s personality? “Our approach is relationship-based, friendly, and very approachable,” Handler says. “We create a no-pressure environment for our clients to acquire artwork. We’re very customer service driven. If we have the opportunity to take the piece of art from the gallery to the client’s home before they purchase, we love to do that so they can see the piece in their own environment.” When Curate opened over the 2016 Labor Day weekend, Handler displayed some of the work that had

been most successful in his Atlanta galleries, but he learned quickly that this work wasn’t necessarily what beach clients preferred. “The collection has evolved over the years,” Handler says. “Some of the art is fun and casual, some of it has greater sophistication, but most has an underlying beach theme. Many of the people that visit us here are on vacation. They’re kind of in their happy place, and we have an opportunity for them to take home a beautiful, lasting memory in the form of a painting or sculpture that will constantly remind them of being here.” Handler has high praise for the local art scene on 30-A. “There are galleries all up and down 30-A with very talented, gifted local artists, many of whom have their own signature galleries.” One unique feature of the Curate experience is the regular artist events it holds ap- proximately six times a year. “Our artists from all over the country love to visit here. For our events, we set them up with an easel, and as clients walk in, they have a chance to meet and connect with the artist on a personal level while watching them paint live.” A different artist is featured at every event, and the goal of establishing con-

Curate is located at 72 Main St. in Rosemary Beach. For more information call (850) 231-1808 or visit

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