Arts / Galleries

Ardest Gallery’s Big Move Gives The Woodlands Even More Art Power — A Haven For Local Talent Settles In

Julie Verville's New Space Allows Her to Expand Her Gallery's Reach With Special Events, Classes and More

BY // 06.07.23

Ardest Gallery, formerly based in Magnolia, has moved to Grogan’s Park in The Woodlands for more than 2,000 square feet of gallery space. Curated by art collector and Woodlands resident Julie Verville, Ardest grew quickly as Verville worked to spotlight local artists.  Now, her new space officially opens this Saturday June 10 with a special re-opening party from 4 pm to 8 pm.

“When I started the gallery space (in Magnolia), it was not started with the vision of doing this,” Verville tells PaperCity The Woodlands. It was started to help my daughter who is 10 sell her art, and after about six months, we outgrew that space.”

With double the display space, eight of the 27 artists with works currently on display in the gallery are from The Woodlands. All the artists in Ardest Gallery are from Texas. Verville feels strongly about supporting local artists.

“I feel like we have an enormous number of talented artists that need someplace to be seen,” she notes.

And with all the public events Verville has planned for new Ardest in The Woodlands, there will be no shortage of opportunities to do that.

“We will have 17 events in June alone,” Verville says. “We’re very focused on connecting with the public in specific ways. One event, for example, is a coffee talk with artists. We’re partnering with Third Gen coffee.

We’ll have a monthly art to lunch program with Amerigo’s Grille next door which will be a curated talk about whatever show is featured.”

The featured space in the gallery is a centrally located set of walls, which measure in with 47 feet of linear wall space that Verville will use to showcase a solo show or a curated juried show.

“We are starting with this particular show which is ‘Femme and Flora’ from Robyn Crowell,” Verville says. “Each one of these artworks is dedicated to a specific woman that impacted the artist in her life in some way. So there’s a description of the characteristics of the person she describes next to the pieces.”

Next up on June 24 will be Houston Mexican American artist Edgar Medina, who will be showing his “What do you live for” series, which is very urban according to Verville.

Art classes are on the horizon as well — with plans for 10 classes a month in the back space of the gallery.

“Classes will be taught by local artists working on expanding skill sets using different mediums and materials. So instead of things that are basic like introduction to water color, it will be how to do to paper mache masks using professional grade materials,” Verville says. “We are also focusing on high school students who want to take their art further from what they’re learning at school.”

The Ardest gallery space in The Woodlands was renovated in just two weeks, with new walls, flooring and lighting put in.
The Ardest gallery space in The Woodlands was renovated in just two weeks, with new walls, flooring and lighting put in.

Students are aren’t left out of the gallery displays either.

“We are going to have a student exhibition in the back space,” Verville says. “Students from The Woodlands High School, Magnolia, Bear Branch Middle and High Schools, and McCullough Junior High will have their work up and exhibited.”

In the main gallery, artists’ work will stay permanently, but a relationship with Ardest starts with a three month commitment.

“Artists need to be selling their work and then rotating their work,” Verville tells PaperCity. “Every two to three months, they will come switch out pieces to make sure it stays fresh for people.”

For this art devotee, Ardest Gallery is a work of love. Julie Verville loves supporting local, and more entry-to-emerging mid-level career artists.

“It’s gratifying to help these artists find an outlet,” she says. “Many times they lack business acumen. So they have all this amazing art, but they need to get it in the right spot.”

And that art from her daughter that inspired Verville? You can buy her daughter’s jewelry and line of cards in the gift shop, along with a variety of handmade art.

Ardest Gallery is located at 25200 Grogan’s Park Drive.  Regular hours for the gallery are 10 am to 2 pm Wednesdays through Saturdays.  Hours for the special events will vary.

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