The Business of Art: Thornebrook Gallery Thriving

For some, business is an art. For David Arrighi, art is business.

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(Photo by Erik Knudsen)

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(Photo by Erik Knudsen)

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(Photo by Erik Knudsen)

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(Photo by Erik Knudsen)

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(Photo by Erik Knudsen)

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(Photo by Erik Knudsen)

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(Photo Courtesy of Thornebrook Gallery)

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(Photo Courtesy of Thornebrook Gallery)

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Three weeks after he graduated from the University of Florida’s fine arts college in 1981, David Arrighi opened Thornebrook Gallery.

“We opened on a shoestring and have somehow managed to make it work for 30 years,” he says.

As a student, Arrighi had noticed that many of his classmates were incredible artists but not as skilled when it came to selling their work. He knew he could help, so he opened a gallery that, from its very beginning, showcased the work of some of his most talented classmates.

The gallery, located in Thornebrook Village off Northwest 43rd Street, specializes in fine art, fine craft, artisan jewelry and custom framing. With just a couple employees (his most recent hire has been on staff for 16 years), Arrighi’s gallery is in the hands of people who know the area and its artists best.

Arrighi has a passion for artwork that depicts the unique landscape of the North Central Florida region. He works with about 20 artists whose mediums include watercolor, oil painting and photography. The key to building a strong gallery, Arrighi says, is building a following for the artists.

“One of the things I love about selling art is getting people to look at things in a little different way,” he says. “You can look at art and like it, or you can look at it and understand what you’re looking at and love it.”

Perhaps the most unique feature of Arrighi’s gallery is that he and his co-workers provide consultations to families and businesses that want to spruce up their space. They do everything from helping choose artwork to finding the right place for it to hanging it properly.

In addition to selling fine art, Thornebrook Gallery sells jewelry and fine crafts. Arrighi says the jewelry and crafts are appealing to customers because of the design quality and the fact that they’re one-of-a-kind.

“The jewelry is artisan design and is more about the design than rocks and gold,” he says. “Fine jewelry has gotten really pricey, so when you’re selling things that are silver and amethyst as opposed to diamond and gold, you can get them into people’s hands for less money, and those artists are just as skilled and passionate.”

Another aspect of the gallery that Arrighi is proud of is the high-end, archival framing they do. A recent job included framing a set of bagpipes.

“I look at framing as an art,” he says. “It’s like the setting on a gem. It can be involved and really enhance the artwork.”

We recently talked to Arrighi about the artists he works with, the businesses he’s consulted and how he’s kept his gallery doors open in today’s economy.

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