Domicile, Madison Park’s new art gallery, which opened this summer, is more than a business to co-owner and Madrona resident Marisa Spooner-LeDuff and her business partner, Erin Langden, it is the culmination of a longtime dream.
The gallery, which opened next to the bookstore in Madison Park this summer, is something that Spooner-LeDuff and Langden began contemplating a long time ago. They actually drew up a business plan for it 20 years ago but, for one reason or another, were unable to execute it until recently, when the time was finally right and the perfect location on East Madison Avenue came open.
Spooner-LeDuff said Domicile was never intended to be like other art galleries in Seattle, which can be intimidating to both artists and community members.
“We want to bring Southern hospitality to Madison Park,” she said, adding Domicile is intentionally welcoming and less formal than other galleries.
Spooner-LeDuff said the pandemic also impacted their decision to act upon their dream of opening a gallery. The pandemic not only hurt artists by limiting the venues available for them to show their work, which Domicile intends to counter. At the same time, the pandemic and the resulting quarantine allowed people who otherwise considered their art to be a hobby to pursue their dreams and take their creations to the next level because of the extra free time. Spooner-LeDuff said Domicile is also intended to give those of up-and-coming artists a venue to showcase their art.
“We ultimately want to be the link between the artists and the community,” she said.
Domicile features new art installations, usually every four to six weeks, with an open house introducing the artist or artists to the community. The latest installation opened Aug. 31 and runs through Oct. 1 and features the paintings of Ericka Wolf and ceramics of Michelle Williams.
Installations will feature any kind of artwork, however, from paintings to metal art to furniture, Spooner-LeDuff said.
“We don’t want to limit what art we show,” she said.
Spooner-LeDuff said, while has always loved art and knows what she likes and is learning a lot every day about how best to showcase the art that comes in, her background is not in artwork; that is Langden’s purview.
For an artist to be considered for an installation, Spooner-LeDuff speaks with the artist, and forwards pictures of the artist’s work to Langden, who is based out of Oregon and primarily handles the interior design part of the business. With input from Spooner-LeDuff, Langden uses her background and knowledge of art to decide whether an artist and their art is right for Domicile.
That said, Spooner-LeDuff said they don’t limit installations to already established artists.
In keeping with the idea of making art accessible to everyone, they also want to give new artists a place to show their work and inspire others. One installation even featured the creations of a local girl, Spooner-LeDuff said.
Except for the first installation, where Spooner-LeDuff and Langden were obliged to show the work of a friend from their home state of Louisiana, Domicile has not struggled filling its installation schedule with artists, although Spooner-LeDuff said she welcomes new artists to contact her about possibly featuring their work in the gallery or to just come into the gallery with examples of their work.
“This is what we want,” she said. This is what we like, and that’s how our art is curated.”
The gallery also seems to be a welcome addition in the neighborhood. Spooner-LeDuff said she has heard many comments from residents telling her Madison Park needed an art gallery – something different from the other businesses in the village area.
“We just want to provide something to the community that hasn’t been here,” Spooner-LeDuff said.
Spooner-LeDuff, who has lived in Madrona for 30 years, said Madison Park was always a top contender for a gallery locale, in part because of the friendliness and interest of residents.
“I love Madison Park,” she said. “I feel like it’s a perfect place for the art gallery. Not only is it very traditional, but it also has new, young, vibrant people moving in.”
While she has no expectations about growing into a large gallery, Spooner-LeDuff said she hopes that people in Madison Park, as well as throughout Seattle, continue to show their support for Domicile and that the gallery attracts a steady stream of customers and artists so she can fulfill her mission of serving both artists and the community. In addition to the art gallery, Domicile also provides interior design and design-build services.
Domicile, 4116 E. Madison St., is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and on Mondays by appointment only. Email Marisa@domicile.design or Erin@domicile.design for more information.