In 2000, when Marg Peterson bought Prince Royal Gallery at the southeast corner of Prince and Royal Streets, not only was she in effect pledging to carry on the fine reputation of Old Towns oldest gallery, she was also literally stepping into history. Prince Royal occupies a piece of art, perfectly at home in what used to serve as the ballroom of the elegant Concordia Hotel, built in 1880 a grand airy setting with high ceilings, large windows on three sides and embellishments characteristic of the time.
Readying itself for a fall of 30th anniversary festivities, the old gallery stands affixed in its accolades as the first independent gallery that famed artist P. Buckley Moss selected, a destination for art aficionados and the go-to framing experts. In fact, it was during a routine framing appointment with the previous longtime owner John Byers, in which Peterson became aware of Byers desire to retire. The rest is history, one could say.
I know what art I like and I love our artists, Peterson said of the wide variety of art represented at the gallery. No matter the genre, Peterson brings fresh eyes to each work, pieces created by established artists including Jack Brubaker, Mae Rash and Ken Koskela as well as by new artists, such as Christine Apel of Alexandria.
An upcoming November exhibit featuring watercolorist Catherine Hillis brings a bit of Brittany to the studio from the artists month in France. We have artists who are retired and sculpt for pure pleasure. We have artists in their 90s, Peterson said.
Its clearly Petersons conviction that the story of artist and art is fun and enjoyable for all. Finding the abilities of an artist astonishing as Peterson expressed, is part of that delight.
Peterson has emerged on the business front as a partner in community endeavors. One of her top achievements was the 2nd Thursday Art Walk. Together, a group of gallery owners put our talents together to make this idea a reality, she said.
Now, the monthly evening event, which features extended gallery hours, is a citywide tradition, highlighting the importance of art in the city. Peterson was also pivotal in the publication of the pamphlet for the Alexandria Arts Commission, Arts and Antiques, designed to provide an overview of galleries in Del Ray and Old Town.