Ula Davitt, director of Ula Art Gallery in Crown Point, says her artistic roots go back to early childhood.
“I was born in Lithuania into a pianist family. I was surrounded by classical music, but my aunt painted, too. The smell of paint hypnotized me,” Davitt said. “The best Christmas present for a 5-year-old was a new set of paint.”
“I immerse in art deeply. I appreciate every era and style, new and old. No favorites, just seeking ‘to dust my soul from everyday life,’ ” she said.
Davitt’s art gallery can be found in Fancy Frugal Furniture Boutique, 35 W. 112th Ave., Crown Point.
Having an art gallery inside a furniture store is a novel idea, but one that makes sense, Davitt says.
“It is so convenient for the buyer. It is so easy to maintain,” she said. “You can invite artists, do art shows and create a buzz in the area.”
But the journey to the furniture boutique gallery was a long one, Davitt said.
Davitt came to the U.S. in 1997 to begin her career in the American art world. She curated art shows and became an art agent, which prompted her to create an online gallery and join pop-up shows.
Around this time, she had the idea to showcase art in furniture stores.
“I was banging on the doors of every furniture store in Chicago,” she said. Some liked the idea, but wanted more time. “Others didn’t like the prices, and the majority said that my artworks do not match their furniture.”
So Davitt turned to her own brick and mortar gallery.
“I sold all my assets and I opened my own brick and mortar gallery on Summit Street in Crown Point. It was my dream,” she said. “People who discovered us loved it. I loved it. There was so much potential. The energy and excitement were there. We did three top-notch art shows.
“Yet, I quickly realized I could not survive. I closed,” Davitt said.
Brenda Spitz is an artist whose abstract, colorful work has been sold from Davitt’s gallery.
“I paint things that make me happy or are fun. Nothing too serious,” Spitz says.
“When she opened her original gallery in Crown Point, she asked me if I wanted to put a few pieces in it, and she also hosted an art show for me,” Spitz said. “I sold a couple of pieces there.”
After the gallery closed, Davitt held some art exhibitions in boutique furniture stores in memory of Robert Brasher, an impressionist artist who was one of her clients. Ula Gallery officially moved in to Fancy Frugal Furniture Boutique this year.
“Our art clientele has a home! Everything feels and looks the way it should be,” Davitt said.
“When she moved to Fancy Frugal, she asked me to put a few pieces in the gallery as well. I have sold one, so far,” Spitz said.
Though the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the art world as much as any other industry, Ula Gallery still wants to accommodate its clientele.
“The furniture store is open, and we have sanitizers, and we are not crowded. If you would like a private art viewing or virtual tour, schedule an appointment at UlaGallery.com, and I will create an amazing time,” Davitt said. “I want people to discover something new and exciting.”
Davitt noted that she has even sold a couple pieces during the pandemic. “People love art. ... Actually, it shouldn’t be a surprise. Let’s make ourselves feel good — buy art, it will last much longer than new shoes!” Davitt added.
Ula Art Gallery’s next show is scheduled for Sept. 26.
“If we cannot invite everybody, it will happen for 10 people. If not inside, then outside as a French café,” Davitt said. “What can I say, different times equal an out of the box art show.”
Be the first to know
Get local news delivered to your inbox!