By Ruth Ann Ruiz
The Post Newspaper Features Editor
Samitha Hess Edwards loved Audrey Hepburn and loved the color, Tiffany Blue. She loved life, art and sharing with others from her abundant spirit. She left our world and went to be with her Heavenly Father on February 4, 2021.
She didn’t leave without leaving behind her legacy which is being carried on by her husband, Scott Edwards, and the devoted staff at the two art galleries the couple owned.
From The Heart Gallery on Postoffice Street in Galveston was her inspiration and out of it grew a family of artists. “The family of artists we have been able to represent has just been amazing,” said Edwards.
After opening their own gallery, the couple purchased Affaire d’art, which is one of the pillars of art galleries in Galveston. Located on the corner of Postoffice and 23rd Street, it has long been a place for art connoisseurs to visit while on the island.
“Samitha had been the one who managed From the Heart Gallery,” said Edwards.
“It’s been a year of transitions. With her gone, I needed to be sure our artists knew I was going to keep going and keep the galleries a vital part of the art scene in Galveston,” explained Edwards.
Bringing on new staff to assist him was one of the changes needed to keep both galleries operating. “I prefer hiring individuals who have an art background. The galleries aren’t just retail. Artists have poured their souls into the works we represent,” said Edwards.
Felicia Barcelona is thrilled to be part of the staff. “I love it in here, we have a great mix of artists and styles. We have something for everyone,” explained Barcelona, who is also a painter and sculpture.
To keep the galleries thriving in support of the artists and clients he shifts his staff from one gallery to the other as needed. He himself is always on the move. “Without Samitha, I have had to manage both galleries. On Art Walk Night, I put in 25,000 steps going between the two,”
From The Heart Gallery hosts art from just over 50 artists with a focus on craft and home décor along with some fine art. Prices range from $20-$2,000. The gallery opened in 2016 and provides a bright, happy experience when entering the door.
Samitha’s work is available for purchase at From the Heart. Many people come in specifically looking for something she created. Behind each of her pieces, Scott has placed a written statement about her and her passion for life and art.
Affaire d’art leans more towards fine art. With 20 artists represented, you can expect a greater percentage of the work to be priced in the thousands of dollars range. You will also find some work in the $100 range. Just like its sister gallery, the experience of light, airy cheer fills the gallery.
Not only does he operate two galleries, but Edwards also has a full-time job as a project manager for an IT company and he is also a photographer. His own fine art photography is available in both of his galleries.
When Scott speaks of transitions, he isn’t just talking about life as a grieving husband, he is also speaking of the transitions that have happened because of COVID.
“All of what we knew about sales trends such as which days were the busiest and what most customers were looking for has changed. So far, no patterns or consistency have emerged. We are having to march and dance to a new rhythm,” explained Edwards.
Another change was the shuttering of art classes; Edwards plans to get those up and running very soon. “My artists are eager to get back to teaching things such as jewelry making, painting and many other art forms,” he said.
Change has been the new stable for all of us, but some things haven’t changed such as the need for artists and their possible clients to dialogue about art. This is a big part of what happens at Art Walk.
“It’s a time when the community can come in and hear artists talk about why they choose a specific hue or used a particular brush stroke. It’s also a time when individuals can give artists feedback,” Edwards explained.
Art Walks are a tradition in communities across the nation. Art galleries open in the evening on a preset date for strolling visitors. Often, there will be wine and finger foods available for guests in each gallery. Musicians as performing artists add to the joy of the visitors seeking an art filled evening.
Galveston will host their next Art Walk on this Saturday, January 15, and the artists from Affaire d’art along with From the Heart are positioning their pieces. Edwards is ready with his staff and his open-heart spirit to welcome the new year with new opportunities and new dances in the world of art.