Article from Our Coast by Alyssa Evans October 7, 2020
A new gallery on 10th Street in Astoria will be a familiar favorite to some. Angi Wildt relocated from Seaside to Astoria in September. Her new gallery location, 106 10th St., is in the center of a string of other creative spaces including The Secret Gallery and West Coast Artisans Gallery.
“I love being the fourth gallery on this block,” Wildt said. “I feel like I’m part of a really strong art community here.”
Wildt’s gallery replaces Blue Collar Collective, which is now an online store.
Wildt ran her Seaside location for over a year, where she was a regular participant of the Seaside First Saturday Art Walk. She’s since joined the mix for the Second Saturday Art Walk in Astoria.
“I believe there’s strength in numbers,” Wildt said. “It’s an exciting thing to be a part of and the art galleries here make the coast a destination.”
Creativity on the coast
Wildt moved from Iowa to the North Coast in the early 2000s. At the time, she had a corporate career. She was supposed to move to Chehalis, Washington, for a promotion when she changed paths.
“I went for a drive along the coast while visiting the area for my job. I stopped in Seaside and I was sort of mesmerized,” Wildt said. “I gave a two-month notice as soon as I got back. I thought I’d figure it out once I was here.”
Wildt soon got a job at a gallery in Cannon Beach, which was her first job working at a gallery.
“I didn’t know how much I loved galleries until my Cannon Beach job,” Wildt said. “It changed how I saw the world.”
Wildt, a photographer and saxophone player, found herself being inspired to create after learning about different artists and getting to talk with them about their work.
“I didn’t know a lot about art. I think it matters more if you love something, not if you know much about it,” Wildt said.
Eventually, Wildt realized she wanted to open her own gallery.
“I’ve been wanting a gallery for at least 10 years. I reached this turning point where I’d wanted this for so long, I was kind of at a crossroads,” Wildt said. “I almost let this dream go but then it happened.”
She researched spots in Astoria with no luck. She soon was connected to the landlord of her previous Seaside gallery, who happens to be the same landlord of her new space in Astoria.
Though she’s been working in galleries for most of the past two decades, Wildt still considers herself new to the arts scenes in some ways.
Wildt’s gallery features art from about 20 artists, including some photography of her own.
Wildt became interested in photography in high school. She took a publication class where she learned how to frame photos and do other photography-related tasks.
Wildt combines her passion for photography with another passion of hers: sailboats. Wildt learned how to navigate and race sailboats, a feat she conquered after stepping foot on her first sailboat five years ago. Many of her photos are taken close to water, often on her sailboat.
“I’m really attracted to water and reflections,” Wildt said. “The Oregon Coast is such a beautiful model.”
Wildt’s gallery, which is located just steps from the Columbia River, is another source of inspiration. “It’s right by the river and I can see the bridge from here. It’s beautiful,” Wildt said.
Wildt hopes her gallery space helps bring recognition to all of the artists featured in her gallery.
A wall of art inside Angi Wildt’s gallery, including some of her own photographs on the left. “I want to help these artists become more nationally known. I have a lot of faith in these artists,” Wildt said. Wildt is in the process of deciding what to do with the gallery’s top floor, which doesn’t currently have art being displayed. She’s considering hosting events like talks, classes and rotating shows.
Angi Wildt stands alongside some of her photographs.
“There’s all these possibilities,” Wildt said. “It’s really fun to think about.”