The End Of the World – the color fades for Art Affair Gallery

078a    Last night the color faded away. It was a farewell party titled: The End of The World, It would be the last time Ronda Richley would be at her gallery with artists and friends. The Art Affair Gallery is now closed to the public, but still a very fond memory.
About  3 years ago I came upon an energetic woman who had colored the walls of a quiet side of First Street. Ronda was more than happy if I intruded into her gallery and took pictures. She answered all questions, was raring to get her artists to market, and never hesitated to show her warmth to me and to others. ronda100_0058-1are the first picture I took was bad, her eyes were closed. She was spotlighting the artist, possibly a jewelry maker if I remember. Ronda was running around chatting with people and she was really anxious to get the gallery to grow. There were many top notch artists through out the years who sated her walls with sophistication and great interest, she introduced me to most of them, some became my friends.

I can say I watched the gallery grow, from a small space to the corner building with twice the space and as Ronda generously filled the gallery, she was never one to stagnate, the art was moved often, fresh pieces and artists added and subtracted. Next came food, then the beer and wine license.  She took over the empty space for rent on the other side of her and on the other side of that. I saw wine tastings, a photography class, art classes, body painting events. Many of the artists came out to be part of the Art Walks on the fourth Fridays and contributed to teaching lessons, some like Toelle, Tom and Leon all help Ronda fix up and paint the gallery with enthusiasm, Ronda infected everyone with her energy. She was always thinking, always told me a plan for this or that, “don’t say anything Abbe, but…” and then she would do what she had spoken about. I can only think she will have something more playing out somewhere in the next year, she is not one to sit idle.
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I will miss the art receptions, seeing the talent and listening to the voices of seasoned artists as they spoke of their work and their lives. I remember Mauricio Murillo and his Gummy Bear art. He was also quite involved in helping a cause.that matched bone marrow with leukemia patients. Artists too many to name, but I will jot down a few and go to for any back photos and notes on Art Affair Gallery. My old site has a search to use. Wonderful artists: Ivaldo, Tracy Burke, Ralph Verano, Peter Cetera, Trish Vivera, Tom Abbott, Marie Decosta, Beau Wild, Toelle Hovan and many many more local and from around the country, many of which have international followers.

Don’t know where Ronda will pop up next, she has her own art that needs to be attended to. Certainly she has given all her time to tending to others, it’s time to breathe, to have fun with her partner, Tom and to enjoy life for a while without worrying about anything, for a while anyways, I know Ronda, we will see something exciting emerge, The end of the world? I hardly think so, things change, and now so will the face of Sanford, my face is a bit long, as were the others who put on their happy faces to go and support the last night and each other — thanks Ronda for making a big spash on the walls in Sanford! It was bright and shiny and we sure won’t forget Art Affair Gallery and Ronda Richley!
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About A.j.

old enough to know better - self taught artist whose specialty is wildlife photography and art published writer - love fishing - love exhibiting member - Florida Museum For Women Artists - refined sugar addict

2 responses to “The End Of the World – the color fades for Art Affair Gallery

  1. So sad.. This was my favorite spot in downtown Sanford, the first and last place I stopped. Loved to bring friends there to enjoy the food, wine and art. We will all miss Art Affair. Let’s hope she regroups and creates something just as spectacular later.

  2. Abbe, a truly stunning tribule. Thanks so much for this!

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