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Local Arts, Crafts, and Gifts

Add some beauty to your life

When Cathy Weyerhaeuser and Mary Whitney met over 25 years ago through their children and husbands, they had no idea the connection their families shared going back generations. Their great, great grandfathers were in business together, and their grandmothers worked together as well. It was almost as if their friendship was predestined.

Fate would have it that their partnership in business was also meant to be. “When we were in our 40s, we talked about doing some sort of business together, but then Mary ended up moving away from the Twin Cities for about eight years,” says Cathy, an artist who has written and illustrated children’s books. “We kind of gave up talking about it and then an opportunity came along three years ago.”

The Grand Hand Gallery, established in 2004 and located on the corner of Dale and Grand Ave in St. Paul became available for purchase in 2018. The gallery specialized in fine American art and crafts. Cathy was already familiar with the gallery since she was one of the artists whose work was displayed there. She and Mary knew that this was the perfect opportunity; this was a chance for them to fulfill their dream.

Once the deal was done, they then got busy making renovations and putting their own personal mark on the rebranded The Grand Hand Gallery W2. “We took two rooms that were originally two storefronts with one connection and put in a second connection, so suddenly you now have circular movement and people are immersed in the gallery,” says Mary.

The artwork itself is located on one side of the gallery, which is a light, bright and stylish space. This is where their rotating art shows with works in various mediums including clay, wood, glass, metal, fiber and jewelry are held. Each show usually lasts four to six weeks. Currently, visitors can view and purchase woodblock prints and paintings from Jim Meyer.

Interspersed with Meyer’s art will be pottery made by Guillermo and Alana Cuellar, a talented potters, who are also father and daughter, “The father produces functional pieces that bring beauty into daily life,” says Mary. “Alana also uses some of her father’s influences but also does her own thing. It’s interesting to see the evolution from father to daughter and how style and trends have changed.”

Many of the artists shown in the gallery are from the Twin Cities and surrounding areas. “We’re very regional heavy because of the logistics of moving the art back and forth, but we’re always looking for great national artists, and we have some international works,” says Cathy.

In September, the Grand Hand W2 Gallery hosted a show on textiles from India by artist Anita Gopalaswamy. “The artist has made connections with women’s groups in East India and has really structured something to provide work to people. So, we’re supporting things we feel good about.”

The other side of the space is an amazing gift store filled with unique finds such as cards, apparel, jewelry and more. “When you walk into the gift store, there are so many beautiful things from every price point and all mediums, so people feel comfortable here,” says Cathy. “We then encourage them to go over to the gallery space to see the really wonderful shows there. Even if they don’t want to buy anything at that point, they can sit and have the experience of a beautiful space.”

“We want people coming in all the time,” agrees Mary. “They bring energy. We have regulars who just come in for cards, but then when they need a gift, they know to come back for those. Having people here makes our day more pleasant, and we hope that they will tell others how enjoyable it is. It’s like being in a small museum and we all need a bit of beauty in our lives.”

Post COVID, they would love to get back to having different artists, such as craftspeople, poets and musicians come in and give talks and show their various talents. “This is also our way to support the artists, makers and the creatives around us versus just having a store. We want to be a space in a community that’s about gathering and supporting local people.”

Mary and Cathy also enjoy helping customers pick out just the right gift. They want to encourage people to think a little bit outside the box. “For a wedding, perhaps combine a salad bowl from one artist, salad tossers from another, and a hand-blocked dish towel,” says Mary. “This way, when the recipient opens it up, it will feel more intimate than just opening up a box from Amazon.”

For artists who are interested in submitting their work to the gallery, they can do so on its website at “We encourage people to submit -  we’re always looking for new artists and new looks,” says Cathy.

Stop in and see what treasures you can find, and infuse some beauty into your day. Mary and Cathy would love to meet you.  

619 Grand Ave St. Paul. (651) 312-1122