Birch Bay woman takes over Blue Horse Gallery

Published on Wed, Dec 15, 2010 by By Tara Nelson

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Birch Bay resident Christine Grinsted is tired of the sterile walls and stoic atmosphere of most art galleries so she decided to create something different.

Grinsted, who has several years experience working as an artist and in art galleries, recently remodeled the 3,000-square foot Blue Horse Gallery in downtown Bellingham, adding walls to create semi-private viewing rooms, warm-colored wall paint, and comfy leather furniture.

“We just want the kind of space we would like to go to that would include art, food, music and friends,” she said. “We couldn’t find that, so we had to make it.”

She’s also working on a cafe, which is scheduled to open by the end of December and will serve espresso, pastries from Mt. Bakery, small vineyard wine and a light menu featuring local and organic ingredients whenever possible.

“We’re kind of integrating our own philosophy into the business,” she said. “Whatever we do I want it to be lovely and spot on. Just like the artwork.”

The cafe also features a stage that could be used for musical acts, spoken word and poetry, she said.

“We’re trying to keep the legacy of the Blue Horse while taking the concept of the gallery in new directions. The sterile walls aren’t really a working model anymore.”

During the month of December the main gallery will be featuring the work of Northwest painter Willow Bader and bronze sculptor Michael Magrath as well as works by nationally-recognized Native American artist Mary Bender. Grinsted said she plans on exhibiting regional and local artists from Oregon to Canada as well as jewelry from local artisans.

“We want to offer something for eveyone,” Grinsted said. “You may not want to buy the huge $1,000 painting on the wall but you might want a nice pair of earings.”

Blue Horse Gallery is located at 301 West Holly Street in Bellingham and is open 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

They can be reached by calling 671-2305 or by visiting their website at

Photos by Tara Nelson