The Backlot at Park Road Shopping Center has been turning into a hospitality hotspot with Amelie’s, Dot Dot Dot and Midwood Smokehouse recently opening to join the ranks of Sir Edmond Halley’s, RockSalt and other establishments.

Artist Gian Garofalo, 45, moved from Chicago last year and decided to add some art to that mix. His gallery, Stella G. Contemporary, opens Saturday, Aug. 12. There will be a free opening reception 6-8 p.m. that day to showcase the first exhibition, “In Motion.” The exhibit will feature 16 new paintings by Karl Klingbiel of New York and Linc Thelen of Chicago.

Works by Karl Klingbiel

Garofalo, who moved to Charlotte to be near to family and now works as an artist at a studio in Eastway, wants to expose his artists to a new market.

“Charlotte is a new market for all of the gallery artists,” he said, “so it’s fun for us to be able to show their work in a new city and equally exciting to expose Charlotteans to work that they might not have been familiar with.”

The 1,100 square-foot Stella G. Contemporary gallery, named for Garofalo’s daughter, will exhibit emerging, mid-career and established artists who are creating contemporary paintings, works on paper and sculpture. This is Garofalo’s first gallery.

“I’ve always been interested in finding a space,” he said. “You come to a city and you see things with new eyes.”

What visitors will see when they walk in come opening day is bright white walls filled with colorful splashes of canvas, high-beamed ceilings with skylights and a floor with a stencil border.

A glimpse of the gallery ceiling
Stencil work on the gallery floor

The theme of the first exhibition, “In Motion,” is movement, with Klingbiel offering a flair for abstraction while Thelen addresses the evolution of the circle from precise to free-flowing forms.

Works by Linc Thelen

While Garofalo is opening his gallery with Northerners’ works (he knew Thelen’s work from the Chicago art and design scene and has long admired Klingbiel’s work), he does hope to start showing several local artists.

He also hopes to stay open later than a typical gallery, since Dot Dot Dot, Midwood Smokehouse and the soon-to-open Flourshop next door will likely bring in some evening foot traffic.

“It’s all a work in progress,” Garofalo said. “It’s been fun to see it come to life.”


Stella G. Contemporary: 530 Brandywine Road.

Hours: The gallery will be operating regular hours beginning next week. See the website for details.

Up next: The next exhibition will be a group show in September, featuring works by all gallery artists.

Photos: Katie Toussaint