"Astoria is on the verge of picking right up from where it was before the crash,” says Teri Sund. She is standing at her desk, the walls behind her hung with large, striking canvases, as she explains her decision to open Imogen, one of Astoria’s newest art galleries.
Sund is not alone in her belief in Astoria’s potential; she cites the new Hampton Inn as evidence that others have faith in Astoria. Speaking of those who walk into her gallery, Sund says, “They’re impressed with Astoria. Every day I hear glowing comments of what a great place Astoria is, and a big part of that experience is what the downtown core has to offer. Newcomers are always impressed with the caliber of art available as well as the many unique shops waiting to be explored.”
Imogen is located at the site of the old Lunar Boy Gallery, 240 11th St. in Astoria, across from the Astoria Coffee House. Lunar Boy decided to dispense with brick and mortar and became an online gallery, giving Sund the opportunity to found her own gallery. Sund, who was exhibit director for 12 years for another local art gallery, RiverSea, says that when the opportunity arose, “There was an inner dialogue as I considered my options. I wasn’t looking to open a new gallery – I had let go of that dream – but then this opportunity woke me up.” In the end she felt “everything came together to benefit everyone,” and she moved into her new space.
The name of the gallery is a word that has been important to Sund for a long time. Her youngest daughter’s middle name is Imogen, and Sund is also a fan of photographer Imogen Cunningham. The word itself is from the Latin imago, image. “I chose the name,” Sund says, “because I want the gallery to embody the creative spirit.”
Sund describes the work presented by the gallery as contemporary. “I’m reluctant to define it beyond that,” she says. “Imogen will show Northwest artists (the current show is “Angular Animalia”: intaglio etchings and wood carvings by Tara Murino-Brault, from the Portland area), as well as those from elsewhere, and both emerging and established artists. Regardless of where they are in their careers, I’m looking for quality.”
Excellence is a theme that runs through Imogen: “I want to add to local quality. I want to help put Astoria on the map when it comes to quality art.” To that end she is an active board member of a new local arts organization, Astoria Art Community Together (Astoria ACT), which will promote local artists and the arts economy with the aim of making Astoria an arts destination. She is also a member of Art Table, a national nonprofit organization of women professionals working in visual arts, which includes curators to the country’s most important museums as well as art writers and critics, gallery owners and collectors across the country. Sund is learning how to “continue to develop and grow what’s good about the arts community in Astoria, and bring it to another level.”
“The art world in Portland and Seattle,” says Sund, “is talking more and more about Astoria. We have carved out an identity as an art scene, and I want to participate in the art community in Astoria and push it ahead, both through Imogen and collectively.”