The Left Bank Shop and Gallery opens for the season, debuts changes

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The Left Bank Shop and Gallery, formerly known as the McGregor-Marquette Center for the Arts (MMCA), opened for the season May 13 in downtown McGregor, debuting not only a new name but also a new interior layout. The retail shop was expanded into part of what was the special exhibits gallery (shown here) in order to accommodate more art from regional artists. (Photos by Audrey Posten)

Just over 70 regional artists, including several new people, are featured in the retail shop at The Left Bank Shop and Gallery this year.

“The Left Bank Shop and Gallery” name hopes to better convey that the establishment offers both a retail sales shop and a show gallery.

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

The Left Bank Shop and Gallery, formerly known as the McGregor-Marquette Center for the Arts (MMCA), opened for the season May 13 in downtown McGregor, debuting not only a new name but also a new interior layout.

The name change for the retail shop and show gallery  to “The Left Bank” honors the beauty of the nearby Mississippi River, while also capturing the spirit of the building in which The Left Bank Shop and Gallery resides, the historic McGregor First National Bank. In addition, it pays homage to the historic area in Paris known for its many talented artists.

With the name change, the board hopes to better convey to the public that the establishment offers both a retail sales shop and a show gallery.

So far, said MMCA president Maureen Wild, the feedback on the name change has been positive, noting that it has also piqued the interest of visitors.

The name is not the only change visitors will find this season, as the board also chose to expand the retail sales shop in order to accommodate more art from regional artists. 

“There are just so many creative people,” said Liza Paizis, one of the artists featured at The Left Bank as well as an MMCA volunteer, adding that they wanted to do the artists justice by allowing all of their submitted work to be shown, rather than just a few pieces at a time.

Half of what was the special exhibit gallery is now dedicated to retail shop items. The other half will continue to be used for special exhibits.

“This also allows us to better manage the special exhibits,” Paizis stated.

Just over 70 regional artists, including several new people, are featured in the retail shop this year, offering everything from paintings, photography, collages and wooden creations to jewelry, pottery, fiber art, basketry and glassware. 

Also among the layout changes is the movement of the service/check-out counter from right in front of the bank vault, which still remains in the center of the room, to across from the vault. The change provides more room, Wild said, in addition to allowing people to better see the vault, which is, understandably, a popular feature in the building.

The Left Bank Shop and Gallery is open daily, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The first special exhibit of the season, called “The Magic of Everyday Life in Art,” will be unveiled Friday, May 27, at a reception held from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Explore folk art with local artists Nancy Schmidt, Suzanne Aunan, Roberta Condon, Barbara Decker, Teresa Champion and Carol Hartman. Refreshments will be provided along with live music by Maritza.

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