Annapolis gallery owner mixes love for art, business

June 08, 2000|By Mary Johnson | Mary Johnson,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Surviving in a challenging business for 20 years is an accomplishment, and thriving as an art gallery in the competitive tourist mecca of downtown Annapolis is doubly remarkable.

McBride Gallery is the second-oldest commercial gallery in Annapolis after the Marine Art Gallery, which Cynthia McBride also launched with a partner in 1978.

Now celebrating the 20th anniversary of her gallery on Main Street, McBride sees Annapolis as "a great town for art."

McBride, 53, views her career as "serving the artist and the customer." She says the sale of a painting is more than a monetary achievement.

She says it is "confirming praise that can energize an artist's career to paint to another skill level."

McBride Gallery opened on Main Street in June 1980 with 15 artists. It now has 60.

McBride searched for the "perfect mix of artists" and says she was "determined to work hard for those artists willing to trust me with their life's work."

In 1972, McBride opened a 10-foot-square space - her first gallery - in Hull, Mass., after obtaining a $2,000 bank loan.

She worked 12-hour days, seven days a week and did custom framing after hours. She sold the gallery when she moved to Sewickley, Pa., where she opened her second gallery; she sold that when the family moved to Annapolis in 1976.

Two years after she arrived, McBride started the Marine Art Gallery. She sold that to open another in 1980 - McBride Gallery. In 1984, she opened a gallery in Severna Park - Benfield Frame Art Gallery.

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