October 2017

Muse Gallery

Author: James J. Strickland | Photographer: M.Kat Photography

Hali Lookabaugh, owner of Muse Gallery, stands next to a few pieces currently on display.

To muse is to ponder over something; to be a muse, is to be one of the nine art-presiding daughters of Zeus, or one of their inspiring kin. To be the aptly-named Muse Gallery on Hilton Head Island is to be a space where the art conveys, where pondering is advocated, where creative inspiration is never questioned and is enthusiastically encouraged, and where there is no right or wrong time for the conversation to begin.

“Great art should speak to you,” said Hali Lookabaugh, owner of Muse Gallery Hilton Head. Lookabaugh grew up in the business. “My mother started Muse Gallery in Columbus, Ohio in 1997. Her immense passion and appreciation for the arts led her to open an art gallery. From a very young age I was completely immersed in it, attending functions and spending time with the artists; several that I represent today have known me since I was a child. Eighteen years later, that same passion led me to open my own gallery.”

Several years ago, while living in Ohio and expecting a baby, Lookabaugh heard (and felt) an inconveniently-timed, pealing call from a work of art. “This painting came in from an artist in Argentina—Sol Halabi—and I felt a way I had never felt about a piece of art before. I remember calling my husband and telling him we were buying this painting. He, of course, told me I had completely lost my mind; it was out of our financial comfort zone and not the best of timing, but it spoke to me. I had to have it. From that point forward, I truly understood the way you can connect to a piece of art.”

Walking alongside someone whether early-on in their art appreciation, or leading them to this type of visceral experience, Lookabaugh’s astute vision for her nearly three-year-old gallery was honed at the hem of her mother’s successful Ohio gallery. “I want people to engage in the work. I want them to feel comfortable to ask questions. I want them to enjoy the experience every step of the way. My hope is that they, too, get to experience the connection with art as I do.”

The gallery’s south-island location on Arrow Road is a bit off the beaten path, and imminently worth finding. With the high ceiling, fresh white walls, warm hardwood floors, and clear windows all around, Lookabaugh’s gallery is a venue where the art is given breathing room to show its best. “Location was really important to me, as I wanted a private space where everyone felt welcome, comfortable, and able to take in the art in an open and inviting space. I have the ability to host small or large gatherings and events. I am open daily but also have the flexibility with the location to close as needed to be able to provide the utmost service to my clients.”

FINE ART, from left to right

Into the All Artist: Mel Rea
Encaustic, 48 × 48

Untitled Artist: Randall LaGro
Oil on Panel, 46 × 36

Representing primarily mid-career artists, Muse Gallery Hilton Head specializes in original abstract paintings, works on paper, and sculpture. “Mid-career artists have been producing work for many years and are either nationally or internationally recognized. Most are in major museum and corporate collections, published in notable publications, and exhibit at numerous galleries across the U.S. or in other countries,” Lookabaugh said. Where most newer galleries take years, often decades, to establish themselves and the artists they represent, Muse Gallery Hilton Head has the advantage of its familial link to Muse Gallery Columbus. Lookabaugh’s gallery has organically evolved from the foundation of works by mid-career artists that she brought with her, as well as artists she has cultivated and built relationships with since opening her Lowcountry gallery.

“I’m very particular about the artists I represent” she said. “I have to have a connection to each artist and a true understanding of their work. The curation of it all is a very important aspect, picking specific pieces to show from an artist’s body of work and planning exhibits.” Shows and workshops scheduled throughout the year give Lowcountry residents and visitors the opportunity to meet the artists and view the of works of over 20 artists from all over the country.

Lookabaugh is particularly pleased to be hosting an opening reception for a two-person show on Thursday, October 26 from 5-8 p.m., featuring Randall LaGro, Taos, New Mexico, and Mel Rea, Cleveland, Ohio. “I have a deep connection with these two artists,” she said. “I am truly amazed by both artists’ ability to engage the audience in the inadvertent stories being told. Their work is inviting, thought-provoking, and mesmerizing.” Both artists will attend the opening.

“Muse Gallery is about being with you every step of the way along your journey in collecting art. I believe in what I’m doing and I stick to that. This business is my life; it’s who I am. Something I learned from my many years of hands-on experience is that the level of service you provide is everything. My clients know they will always have my undivided attention. They get me every step of the way. I truly enjoy what I do, and I think anyone who knows me can see that.”

Art for Lease
Leasing art from Muse Gallery started out as a great program for realtors and stagers to be able to use original art to enhance the look and feel of a property that is for sale. It has now branched off into an opportunity for potential collectors to live with art before fully committing to it. If you don’t know what you want to buy, or you’re not quite comfortable with the whole idea of it, why don’t you lease artwork, live with it for a while, see what you like, see what works for you? For more information on leasing rates or more details, contact Muse Gallery Hilton Head

Muse Gallery Hilton Head is located at 65 Arrow Road, Suite B, Hilton Head Island. For more information, please visit amusegallery.com or call (843) 715-4330

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