Meyer Gallery Delivers Creative Catalyst

By Laura Jackson

During an era of horse drawn transportation, silver prospecting, and even before telephones arrived in town, 305 Main Street provided the site for the historic First National Bank. The ornate vault that once held Park City’s famed silver miners’ fortunes can still be seen right inside the door. As you enter under elegant arches featuring original etched glass transom windows imported from France in the late 1890s, it’s easy to imagine the rich and colorful history behind a building that would later inspire generations of talented artists.

A new page of Park City history was written there much later in 1965, when a local social worker and a nurse, Darrell and Gerri Meyer, opened the growing town’s first art gallery—Meyer Gallery. Times were changing fast for a small mountain mining community evolving into a ski resort mecca. Beginning by offering native pottery and a few matted watercolors, this family business represents the dawning of today’s prestigious Park City art district of more than 20 area galleries.

Susan Meyer, today’s curator of Meyer Gallery, fondly remembers her warm introduction to the art world. As a child, she and her brother (who currently leads Meyer Gallery in Santa Fe) spent a great deal of time with their parents at the homes and studios of the artists represented in their gallery. Whether on an Indian reservation finding new pottery, in an artist’s studio, or at a local art auction, her parents understood the value of their relationships with artists from the very beginning. This made a lasting difference in the way Meyer still operates her successful business today. “It was really a part of the normalcy of my childhood. I realized years later that it was not something to be taken lightly. Developing relationships with my artists is still the favorite part of my work.”

Meyer takes particular joy in mentoring emerging artists and still loves to travel across the country in search of new artistic genius. “My goal is to find the undiscovered artists who not only represent exceptional talent, but also provide a great value for the quality,” explains Meyer. “I spend a lot of time driving to small towns where I have often found some of my most committed and dedicated artists.” Referring to the prominent work of Santiago Michalek, who now enjoys widespread exposure across the country, she recalls the fascinating progression of his talent and style. With Mickalek and so many others, Meyer’s unique understanding of the art environment, in conjunction with her intrinsic ability to inspire artists to follow true passions with their art, results in numerous success stories for both the gallery and her artists.

After several years of working in New York before returning back to her true love and roots in Park City and the art business,
Meyer continues to honor a deep commitment to supporting Utah artists. Featuring emerging and established artists across a variety of styles and genres including contemporary, representational, painting and sculpture, the great majority of Meyer Gallery artists call Utah home. “I find unique satisfaction in seeking out and promoting the best of our local artists,” explains Meyer. “I truly enjoy the opportunity to demonstrate the type of quality art from Utah that often also shows in museums, galleries and collections all over the country and world.”

As Meyer Gallery nears their 50th anniversary, the growth and changes seen in Park City and its art are far too numerous to recount, but the gallery’s lasting commitment to finding and exhibiting extraordinary artistic talent remains a welcomed constant.