After 25 years in San Marco Square, Stellers Gallery moves to Philips Highway

After 25 years in San Marco Square, Stellers Gallery moves to Philips Highway
Scott Riley, Jr., Scott Riley, Maureen Riley Regas and Graham Riley pose with painting of the Stellers Gallery building by San Marco artist Dennis Campay during a reception at the gallery March 30.

For Stellers Gallery owner Scott Riley, from the end of an era sprouts a new beginning.

Riley moved his inventory from the 4,500-square-foot gallery he inhabited in San Marco Square near the fire station to a much larger space next to Hugo’s Furniture store at 3139 Philips Highway. The new 11,000-square-foot showroom means Riley will own one of the largest art galleries in the Southeast.

Riley opened Stellers Gallery in 1985 in a Baymeadows space loaned to him by developer Chester Stokes, when he began to exclusively represent his brother, nationally acclaimed artist C. Ford Riley of Mandarin. The gallery was named after one of C. Ford Riley’s first successful paintings, the Stellers Blue Jay.

Two years later, he decided to transform the gallery into a “destination,” by moving it into another Baymeadows building. It was there he realized his vision of hanging his brother’s paintings in a residence-like venue. “My vision for my gallery was for it to look like a home. I had beautiful furniture in it and all of Ford’s paintings were placed like they were in a home,” he said.

Riley began to take on other artists’ work, soon outgrowing the space. When the larger location at 1409 Atlantic Blvd. came available in 1992, Riley jumped on it. For several years he had a second gallery in Ponte Vedra Beach, which he subsequently sold.

Since then he has fostered the careers of dozens of successful Jacksonville artists including Jim Draper, Steve Williams, Dennis Campay and Michael Andrew Perry, both of San Marco, and his brother, Folk Artist Paul Riley, of Venetia.

Riley grew up in Ortega and is a graduate of Robert E. Lee High School. A love of art runs deep within his family. In addition to both his brothers, Riley’s mother, Maureen, was also a painter. She founded the “Artists Five” group of prominent Jacksonville women artists, which included Alice Ulmer, Christine Schmidt, Ula Bull, and Margaret Berg.

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