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Your Local Source for Global Art: Stonebridge Art Gallery

One Of The Factory’s Original Tenants Is Still Going Strong

Article by Kellie Walton

Photography by Provided

Originally published in Franklin Lifestyle

The Factory at Franklin has become a destination for both locals and tourists alike, packed with shops, restaurants, event venues and sweet treats. We’re all anxiously anticipating its revitalization, which includes the addition of several top-notch restaurants, a theater and a central bar, but though a touch of “new” is on its way, the Factory will still stay true to its historic roots. 

Stonebridge Art Gallery was one of the first tenants in the Factory when local real estate developer Calvin Lehew converted the former stove factory to a retail destination. The gallery’s original owner, Ron Burr, believed in Lehew’s vision for the space to be art-forward. Today, the gallery remains strong, bringing globally-curated pieces to the heart of Franklin. 

“We have moved around several times during the Factory’s renovation, but I wanted more space,” shares Don Metzger, who took over ownership of Stonebridge Art Gallery together with his wife, Colleen, in 2019. “Covid reaffirmed for me that people have to see art live. That’s when I knew I wanted to grow and expand because galleries are vital when viewing original artwork.” 

You can’t miss Stonebridge Art Gallery’s new home in the Factory, because thanks to its state-of-the-art contemporary lighting, it’s a literal bright light in the retail corridor. In addition to lighting, the new space is unique in that most everything is on wheels.

“I wanted to be able to rearrange the gallery by myself in ten minutes if needed,” Don shares. “If we wanted to do a class or have an event in-house, we can easily move a wall to create more space.” 

Much like the gallery’s physical displays, the art showcased is ever-changing. In fact, only around 10% of their collection is on the walls at any given time, but shoppers have the opportunity to peruse stacks of original artwork on canvas that can be stretched and framed after purchasing. The gallery features more than 75 artists and more than 400 pieces of art. 

“Our selection is curated globally,” Don adds. “We feature artists from multiple continents. When we were in our smaller space, we were limited on how many artists we could display at one time. In our new, larger space, we can showcase more artists and artwork simultaneously.” 

In the new space, expect to find a wide variety of styles and sizes from abstracts to landscapes and figurative work, bright and soft colors, texture and no texture. “Stylistically, if you can’t find something in here you like, I’ve done something horribly wrong,” Don laughs. 

While the art is curated from around the world, Stonebridge strives to be a locally-owned source for beautiful, global pieces. The gallery draws customers from the local community, but also taps into Franklin’s tourism as well as attracting repeat customers from surrounding towns like Lexington, Bristol, Memphis and more. Don’s wife and gallery co-owner, Colleen, is a local artist and art teacher at an area school, and her stunning cyanotype artwork is also available to view and purchase. She can also create custom pieces.

“We say we offer art from around the world, and next door,” Don shares. “We aren’t pretentious. We want to be approachable to people who don’t necessarily have a fine arts background. Whether this is your first original artwork purchase, or you are adding to your collection, we offer really high-quality artwork at an accessible price point. We like to think of ourselves as the “un” gallery.” 

While Stonebridge Art Gallery settles into its new space in the Factory, Don and Colleen are thrilled to watch the renovation progress unfold around them. “Much like Ron did in 1998, I believe in what Holladay Properties is doing with The Factory,” Don adds. “This place is going to be fabulous when they’re done. I’m excited to have more space near the restaurants so people can window shop even when we’re closed.” 

Every piece Stonebridge Art Gallery houses is available to view on their website, but as Don shared, art takes on a whole new life in person. The stunning new space is now open and welcoming anyone to browse and shop.