After retiring from teaching, Marcia Reed knew she wanted to open a gallery as a second career although she intended to open one in her native Massachusetts. She reconnected with David Pickrell, her now husband, who was president of Italian International Belting in Newark. The two dated in high school from the age of 15 to 23 and reconnected after 37 years.
“He was driving to see me in Massachusetts for three years and asked me if I would consider thinking of opening my new art gallery anywhere in Delaware,” Reed said. “After about a year and a half of seriously looking and being persuaded by real estate people to look in Lewes and Rehoboth, I almost purchased a building in Delaware City. I wanted an up and coming town and not one that was already established with their vision.”
Reed knew that she did not have a beach-related gallery in terms of what she hoped to exhibit. Pickrell called her after finding a location in Milford, telling her that he thought he had discovered a place she would love as it had an apartment upstairs with retail below. Milford had a nice charm in the downtown area plus she had views of the Mispillion River. With that, Gallery 37 was born.
“I have been a painter my whole life,” Reed said. “I knew this was my direction early on in 2nd and 3rd grade. I wrote a career report in 8th grade about wanting to be an artist. In my senior year in high school the Agawam High School newspaper wrote an article that my passion was to be an artist and own my own art gallery on the coast of Maine.”
A native of New England, Reed was born in western Massachusetts. She earned a Master of Fine Arts in painting and a Bachelor of Fine Art Education from the University of Massachusetts. She student taught for 16 weeks at Granby High School and was in a juried group painting exhibit in 1977 where she met a woman who taught ceramics at a private boarding school in Easthampton, Massachusetts.
“She told me that her school was looking for a drawing teacher,” Reed recalled. “I applied for this position along with many others and had three interviews with the headmaster. I was hired for that drawing position and to teach Middle School art. This led me t another art position in the Upper School. I was so fortunate to land this Upper school position with this age group! I taught painting and Basic Design at the Williston Northampton School for 35 full time years, retiring in June 2012 and moved that August to Milford.”
Although Reed never opened her gallery on the coast of Maine, she did teach for 15 years at the Maine College of Art in Portland in their summer intensive programs. That opened up opportunities to exhibit her own paintings in gallery shows all around Portland, including York, Isesboro, Yarmouth and Blue Hill, Maine.
“I have enjoyed getting to know my customers personally over the ten years my gallery has been open,” Reed said. “I have built some nice friendships and I feel grateful they have supported me financially and emotionally with the vision I had for the gallery. My artists/artisans are amazing and seasoned professionals. Because of that fact, my exhibitors are high quality, higher priced and many are American Craft Council members and Professors of art. It is a weekly challenge to communicate that fact that art can command a high price even in this small town that I chose. Our downtown area does not get a lot of foot traffic at all. I realize and learned that I am a Destination Gallery and business.”
Reed explained that the artists she works with have worked a lifetime to reach the level to display in a gallery. For them, it is not a hobby or a sideline activity. She believes strongly that there are plenty of galleries around southern Delaware that can cater to all incomes and art tastes.
“I am definitely a destination gallery with a contemporary look for my clientele,” Reed said. “I feel strongly that art can connect you to another human being and their vision can add brightness and meaning to your home.”
Reed is still putting together the vision for the next ten years in her gallery. She is hoping for more downtown growth as more eating locations open up and bring visitors who will linger or walk by the businesses on Walnut Street. She is hopeful as she hears of the new things developing that will benefit everyone in Milford.
To celebrate her 10th anniversary, Reed is holding an open house at Gallery 37, located at 3 South Walnut Street in Milford. There will be food provided by Fortunata’s Bakery, cheeses, wine and a special cake designed by Rous of My Sister’s Fault. Gallery 37 is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 AM until 6 PM. For more information, contact Reed at 302-265-2318.
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