Moynihan Art Gallery to close in August

After 25 years in business, Kate Moynihan has announced she will retire, and on August 31, the Moynihan Art Gallery in downtown Holland will close.

HOLLAND — Downtown Moynihan Art Gallery will close following the retirement announcement of owner Kate Moynihan.

First opened in 1993 by Kate and her husband, Larry Weller, the business has spent 25 years in downtown Holland.

It started in the space now filled by the Holland Area Visitors Bureau office, then moved a block west in 1994 when the business needed a larger space and finally moved to its current location at 28 E. Eighth St. in 1996.

According to Moynihan, Moynihan Gallery and Candle-olgy will remain open until Aug. 31, while the custom framing and custom candle making portions of the business will continue until Aug. 1.

“I couldn’t be happier about the camaraderie we found moving to Holland and the support the community has given us for 25 years,” Moynihan said. “The vitality of downtown is unbeatable, and the energy has filled my soul.”

And while Moynihan’s customers know her as an oil and watercolor artist, an author of four books and a shopkeeper, there is a lot more to Moynihan’s story than just her 25 years at the store.

A product of the 1950s, Moynihan said she idolized her mother growing up and, as she got older, it was her mother who first taught her to work with her hands, in the form of arts and crafts. As she got older, she pursued a career as a nurse, a profession that she ended up doing for 13 years.

Her travels took her as far away as Bismarck, N.D., where she found herself 1,000 miles away from her family, living in a small apartment by herself. It was around that time she took a leap of faith and began exploring a career in the art world.

She started out with homemade cards, and then did over 1,000 mini collages for Pier One and J.C. Penney and eventually was commissioned to do over 30 pieces of artwork for a healthcare business.

Throughout that period, the goal was always to raise enough money to get back to Michigan.

In 1993, she made the move and opened her store. Following two moves, the store settled into its current location and, for a period of time Kate and her husband lived in an apartment above the store.

And while she has been in her current location for over 20 years, much like Moynihan, the space has shifted and evolved through the years.

“These walls must have more than 50 shades of paint on them from fuchsia to pumpkin,” Moynihan said. “We’ve painted them as often as three times a year.”

Along with changes to the appearance of the business, Moynihan said she has also learned and evolved her business as technology changed through the years.

“Technology not only changed our inventory system, computerized art reproduction techniques, called Giclee, replaced the traditional and popular lithograph prints of the mid-90s,” she said. “This print-on-demand technology has changed the art world forever.”

Despite a journey she said was sometimes filled with bouts of turbulence, Moynihan will be the first to say she has learned from the ups and downs in her journey. And because of the lessons she has learned, she now plans to move forward as a motivational speaker.

“By sharing the lessons I’ve learned, I hope to inspire others,” she said. “I am not proud of all my decisions from my past, yet I had to forgive myself to move forward.”

Along with going forward as a motivational speaker, Moynihan said she expects to remain in Holland, a city she has fallen in love with through the years. She will also be sharing her latest book, a memoir, called “A Lone Birch,” which can be found at the gallery and online through Barnes & Noble and Amazon.

Moynihan is thankful for her customers she has had through the years, whether it was local return customers, first-time customers or tourists because as she said, the business would not be there without those people.

And as for the future of the space? Moynihan hopes the success she has had passes on to the next business in the space.

“Our landlord, Lumir Corp., continues to contribute to the vibrancy of downtown and only good things can be in store for the place I’ve called home for 25 years,” she said.

Elsa Prince-Broekhuizen is the principal behind Lumir Corp., which owns several commercial properties in the Holland area.

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