Trip Advisor has been a very useful travel-planning tool over the years, and this time was no different. Checking out the site’s “Things to Do” category for St. Petersburg landed me here to read the reviews on the top-ranked Duncan McClellan Gallery. Just knowing it was an art glass gallery was convincing enough; we knew we had to see it! The fabulous reviews, however, sealed it! Better yet was following the link to the gallery’s website to see the gorgeous photos of their exhibited glass sculptures.
When we arrived, we were greeted by the personable and friendly Danyell Bauer, the gallery’s manager. She has worked at the gallery for ten years, and she is also a glass and multi-media artist. We really enjoyed talking with her!
As we feasted our eyes on all of the beautiful works of art, we felt right at home in the relaxed environment—especially when we saw the food and water bowls on the floor for what turned out to be three cats that had free run of the gallery. (I guess they don’t make a habit of knocking over the art work!)
The 3,000-square-foot gallery opened up to a casual courtyard and deck in one direction, where two of the cats were taking a siesta; and, on the other side of the gallery, it opened up to a beautiful sculpture garden full of mango trees, plants, orchids, sculptures, art glass, a boardwalk path, and casual sitting areas where you could relax and enjoy the environment. We were amazed that gorgeous blown glass pieces were on display out in the elements. They were created by Duncan himself, and they were spectacular!
We got talking with Duncan McClellan, and learned that he also loves to garden and grow orchids. He created that 5,000-square-foot sculpture garden from what was once an empty dirt space behind the former fish and tomato packing plant. Now, he is learning how to grow several varieties of mushrooms and showed us a bucket that had mushrooms growing on the side.
Duncan was as personable and friendly as Danyell, and he really made us feel at home. Behind the gallery and sculpture garden is a huge glass blowing studio, so he led us back and showed us around. Glass blowing demonstrations are open to the public; however, we were there on a Sunday afternoon, so there wasn’t much action going on.
Since Bruce works in fused glass, we were interested in seeing his kilns, and we were amazed at the quantity and variety he had available there for himself, staff, the artists, and classes they teach. One of them was the largest we had ever seen! This huge piece was annealed in this approximately 5’ x 5’ kiln.
We look forward to returning to the gallery next time we visit St. Petersburg. Since the rotating exhibitions feature national and internationally recognized glass artists, I am sure there will be many more amazing works of art; a feast for the eyes!