Local Art Thrives At Stillwater Art Guild Gallery
“We don’t sell art. Art sells itself. We are just there to help you make decisions in purchasing the art that you like,” the owner of Stillwater Art Guild Gallery, Bob Lyksett, said.
Lyksett’s adoration for art blossomed because of a high school yearbook photography class. He explained he enrolled in the yearbook program to get an easy A, with no intention of a lifelong fondness for the art form.
“I am a textbook example of taking an easy class. [The teacher] gave me the camera and said, here you’re going to be the photographer. I had no idea how to use it,” Lyksett admitted. “My father was a photographer. He showed me how to use it. That’s how my career began.”
Lyksett’s followed up his illustrious high school yearbook experience by enrolling at Weber State University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in photography. For grad school, he attended Utah State and majored in Fine Arts. Lyksett tapped into his formal education and embarked on a profession as a professional sports photographer before he packed up the mountain state and relocated to Minnesota.
Stillwater Art Guild Gallery is the only art gallery in Stillwater, Minnesota.
The gallery opens doors to the public at 12 p.m. and shutters doors at 5 p.m. daily. Lyksett allows and encourages drop-ins and appointments at Stillwater. For appointments, call the gallery and pick a suitable time. Delineate if you would prefer Lyksett or another artist to direct the appointment. If you browse the website and find a piece of art that speaks to you, you can contact the artist, ask questions about the work or schedule a meeting or appointment with them about the specific work.
“We have 90 artists, and they are all local artists from the area, not just specifically Stillwater City, you know, White Bear and Hudson. Everybody is juried to get in. They go through a process to be accepted. That enables us to have high-quality art,” Lyksett continues, explaining the gallery’s hope for growth and expansion.
Stillwater Art Guild Gallery currently provides temporary homes to pottery, acrylic paintings, oil paintings, abstract art, jewelry, photography, collages and larger statement pieces, offering art for every art appreciator.
Each art admirer has different tastes and preferences, as art is a subjective medium of expression, Lyksett said.
“You can’t force art down somebody’s throat. It’s not Ford and Chevy. My car is better than your car. Buy mine instead of that car. You can’t do that with art,” Lyksett explained what works for one investor might not work for another.
Due to art’s subjective nature, Stillwater Art Guild Gallery attracts interior designers from all over Minnesota, as well as art collectors and those just looking to adorn their homes or offices with striking work. The gallery prides itself on fostering homes for individualistic and unique pieces, all from local artists.
“You’re investing in a local business person’s future and their career. There’s a lot of good art to be found online, yes, from all around the country or the world. But it’s rather amazing at the high quality of art that’s offered in really, probably any local market for a local audience,” Lyksett shared. “As opposed to, like I say, going online. You find what the local artists create has the flavor of the community.”
Lyksett discovered this revelation during his first years in the Twin Cities.
He joined the Stillwater Gallery as a member to nurse his passion and soon he progressed to a co-owner of the gallery. Before he understood his role in the Minnesota artist community, he encountered an artistic shock. One that challenged his artistic identity.
“For me, a photographer who is used to shooting beautiful, tall mountains and sunsets and sunrises, and trees. I came out here, and at first, I had a hard time. So I was putting up pictures in the gallery of mountains and things, and I found that people were not interested [in that] around here. People actually want art, pictures images, if they’re looking for a landscape, of the local area,” Lyksett told Lavender Magazine. “By dealing with a local artist, you’re getting local flavor, you’re getting local passion and you’re getting local individuality.”
Flash forward a few years, and Lyksett is the sole owner of Stillwater Art Guild Gallery.
Artwork Acceptance into Stillwater Gallery
Every artist interested in placing their work at Stillwater Gallery undergoes a rigorous examination of previous and current work by “two or three established artists who have been professional artists in the past, if not currently.”
Amongst his role directing Stillwater, Lyksett takes a seat on the art commission and helps decide which art gains access to his gallery and which art belongs to a different art hall.
“I have been told so many times by people that come in that this is such a gem, in this little town. So I’m just trying to get the word out. We’re a really nice gallery. We really are. And I travel to a lot of galleries around the country and South Lake Tahoe, Park City, Utah, high dollar galleries and stuff, and I would dare say we can compete with some of those galleries as far as the quality of a lot of our art,” Lyksett said.
Stillwater Art Guild Gallery
402 Main St., Stillwater