Bellas Gallery, Brisbane
The Bellas Gallery specialises in contemporary Australian art, with a particular emphasis on supporting local Queensland artists. The gallery has two main exhibition spaces, and is located on the upper floor of what was once a traditional mixed-use corner store and residence. An extension, which has recently been added to the building, provides a contemporary exhibition space that is well served by natural light. However, in this gallery it is the art, rather than the building that takes pride of place.The gallery opened in 1987, in a large and demanding space in Adelaide Street, at the outer fringe of the CBD. In 1990, the Bellas Gallery moved to its current Fortitude Valley location, one of the first of the new wave of galleries to open in the area. The gallery was established to support a group of local artists, most of whom were in the early stages of their careers - like the gallery, both the local and national reputations of this core group of artists have grown substantially over the last decade.When I first opened the gallery, I had no great expectations. My invitations have been simple, plain items and I have rarely advertised. I have never viewed openings as an opportunity to sell work but rather as a celebration for artists and friends. In the end, it is the relationships that I build with my artists and collectors that are most important, as important as the art.