Friday night was the grand opening for Bettie Jack Gallery, which was well attended. Bettie Jack is at 279 N. Keswick Ave., a few doors down from the Keswick Theater, and former location of Lily of the Valley of Cupcakes. The opening party drew an eclectic crowd to match the gallery’s design.
Bettie Jack Gallery features 20 artists, including painters, woodworkers, jewelers whose work is on sale. Bettie Jack features paintings, furniture, photography, stationary, vintage clothes, signs and a extensive selection of unique pieces. Bettie Jack is open Tuesdays through Sundays from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., but the hours may change based on community feedback.
Sharisma “Shari” Herrmann and Robin Beall are co-owners of Bettie Jack Gallery. This is the second venture from the partners who opened 245 North Gallery on Keswick Ave in 2016. Beall and Herrmann closed 245 North to birth their new baby, Bettie Jack Gallery.
Herrmann is a mother and artist, known as Shari, who’s lived in Glenside for most of her life. Herrmann paints with acrylic, but dabbles in most mediums, and is always trying something new.“I will try anything once, artistically,” said Herrmann. Shari’s creations and painting are for sale, as well as a part of the space’s decor.
Beall lives in Hollywood, Abington Township, and is active in the community, and serves as Vice Chairman of the Abington Rockledge Democratic Committee. Beall’s talents can be found throughout the store in the photography and refinished furniture. “Robin will prep a piece of furniture, I paint it, and then she re-finishes it, which is awesome for me,” said Herrmann.
Beall and Herrmann transformed the space into and engaging, eclectic space that is easy to get lost in. “We see Bettie Jack Gallery as a community space that supports local artists, introduces art to the neighborhood and provides a unique environment for art classes, and space for private events,” said Beall.
Bettie Jack also sells second hand items that are enhanced and dubbed as “up-style fashions.” “At 245 North we were surprised to find clothing was our best selling category, followed by jewelry and signs,” said Beall. “At 245 North Earl Slick guitarist with David Bowie bought a pair of jeans that belonged to Robin’s 19-year-old niece, and he wore them on stage at the Bowie tribute show,” said Herrmann. She goes on to say, “ at 245 North performers from the Keswick Theater would come in and buy stuff all the time, and now we’re just two doors away.”
Bettie Jack is not just a gallery to Beall and Herrmann, because it evolved from loss and laughter. The gallery is named after Bettie Beall, and Jack Herrmann, the co-owners deceased parents. Both parents shared a love of art and antiques that they passed down to their daughters. Herrmann and Beall knew each other for many years through their families, but were not close. In 2014, the suicide of Herrmann’s aunt Marge Sexton lost her son to suicide. (Sexton was known in Glenside for her business Journey’s of the Heart that married people.) Beall lost her mother and the friends become closer.
Photos from the grand opening on June 8th
Then more loss struck the Herrmann family when Jack Herrmann died. This loss hit Herrmann hard and the two friends found solace in ]shared grief, and love for art and antiques. Beall was looking to make a life change as well after she left her position as Community Outreach Director for Senator Haywood. Herrmann was looking to do something new when someone suggested she open a store on Keswick Ave.in the space occupied by the card store which was closing.
The soon-to-be vacant store was across from Plush, a bar she owned with her ex-husband, that was featured on Bar Rescue in 2014, and is now closed. Herrmann loved Keswick Village and was considering opening a store to sell curtains she created, but she hated the business side of things. “I told Robin about my curtain store idea, and she told me I was nuts, and I couldn’t just sell curtains,”said Herrmann. That conversation led to the opening of 245 North 245 North on September 9, 2016.
245 North Gallery was similar to Bettie Jack , but the co-owners wanted to add more events and art classes, but their space at 245 North couldn’t support it. In February of this year Beall suffered another personal loss when her father died.
The partners discovered space two doors down from the Keswick Theater was available to rent, and they both knew it was the perfect location to create a gallery and community art space. The space availability was bittersweet because both thought it wasn’t financially feasible. “One night I felt my Father; as if he reached over from the other side, and urged me to get off my butt; and find about the rent, and that’s exactly what she did,” said Beall.
After crunching some numbers their friend Commissioner Matt Vahey made a critical introduction to Steven Balin, the developer. Steve shared their passion for Glenside and loved their art-space concept, and it didn’t take long to get the lease signed. Phase two of Bettie Jack Gallery will involve making use of the basement and bringing in a woodworking bench and pottery wheel for art classes.
Herrmann and Beall enjoy working together, and they laugh a lot. The partners hope Bettie Jack will evolve to meet the needs of the artists and customers. The gallery is ideal for private event because of the art filling the space and its eclectic decor. For information on private events call 215-887-2288. For more information visit the Bettie Jack Facebook page