From emergency room nurse to gallery owner may seem an unlikely journey. But a middle stint with a string of successful medical device startups and then surviving cancer helps fill in the blanks. Last October, Menlo Park resident Joan McLouglin fulfilled a long-time dream and opened up The McLouglin Gallery in San Francisco.
“I thought, ‘you’ve always wanted to own an art gallery, so why don’t you just do it,'” said Joan, who’s a breast cancer survivor of three years. “Once I made the decision, so many things fell into place. I made a connection with the Berlin-based Peres Project and was able to represent one of his artists. I found this space. Now I’m continuing to talk to and meet lots of artists.”
The focus of the gallery is two-fold: showcasing established, contemporary European artists as well as emerging local artists. “I want to help elevate Bay Area artists and our arts community,” she said. “We have an incredible group of talent.”
Unique in the art gallery world, Joan donates a percentage of her net sales profits to Glide Memorial Church and Stanford Breast Cancer Research. “Life has been good to me,” she said, “so it was natural to open a gallery that gives back.”
Long term, Joan would like to own multiple galleries throughout the world, in both Europe and Asia. Short term, she’s completing a gallery and museum certificate program at Cal State University, East Bay, to fill in her lack of formal art education.
“But I’m not really new to art,” she said. “I’ve always been drawn to art and aesthetic things. And if I like something, I’m extremely passionate about it. I think that’s one reason I’m drawn to portrait work. Looking at portraits ,you see the beauty of people.”
Next month Joan will be expanding her gallery to include sculpture with an exhibit called “No Fooling We Mean It!” There will be an opening reception for the artists on Friday, April 1 from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm.