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Art and culture are woven into the fabric of the Los Alamos community and up until a few years ago, the town did not have a fine art gallery to call its own.
In 2008, local artist Karen Wray set out to fill that void by opening her gallery, Karen Wray’s Fine Art, in its original location off Trinity Drive. She filled the studio with her own artwork and began to offer painting classes to anyone who might be interested — encouraging even amateurs to delve into the expressive world of art.
Wray has been painting since her retirement from Los Alamos National Laboratory in 1995. Just a few years after she discovered her new passion, she joined the Los Alamos Artists Studio Tour and was a part of the Holiday Art Show at Melissa Bartlett’s studio for nine years.
She spent years displaying her works in local venues such as DeColores and Katherine’s Restaurant; but quickly recognized the need for a professional gallery where local artists could exhibit their works year-round.
Wray recently moved her gallery to its new location, just across the street from the Bradbury Science Museum, to further her efforts to provide a place where local artists could thrive. Once only displaying her own pieces, she now features more than 18 local artists in her gallery, with plans to add more in the future.
The move provided the gallery with greater visibility and ample parking. Wray says she has seen more visitors in a day at her new location than she saw in an entire week at the previous one.
In addition to handling exhibitions, sales and marketing for local artists, the gallery also offers classes in traditional fine arts. Wray created the program to fill another void she saw in the community — a lack of continuous and fundamental art education for adults.
She began offering oil painting classes in 2009 and has now expanded her class offerings to include various mediums such as pastels and drawing, all led by professional, local artists such as Janice Parker Muir and Sheridan Brown. Wray plans to expand her class offerings in the near future, adding more media and local professionals to the mix.
The gallery currently contains an eclectic variety of local works: metal sculptures by David Trujillo; furniture by Steve Monjares; and paintings by well-known local painter, Secundino Sandoval; as well as her own oil paintings. The gallery also features high quality jewelry, greeting cards, giclée prints and more. The studio is brimming with local flavor and talent.
The gallery’s next art show, “Living Things” is scheduled for April 19. For more information, visit or contact the gallery at 660-6382 and don’t forget to say hello to Tinkerbelle.
-April M. Brown