Gallery owner and director, Mary Jo Gordon, opened her gallery in 1991 and named it after her kids. Galerie Françoise et Ses Freres means Françoise and her brothers. Gordon named the gallery when her daughter, Françoise, was 11 years old.
“At the time she was 11 and hated it and her brothers loved it,” Gordon said. “She’s grown up with it and now likes it. For me, it was so fun to name it after my kids.”
But before there were kids, there was a passion for art. When Gordon was in sixth grade she discovered she was good at drawing. From there she decided to attend Towson State and became an art teacher. After teaching for a few years, Gordon stopped to have a family. But the passion and drive she had for art never went away.
“After kids I started volunteering at the Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) giving tours and I also volunteered in a sale and rental gallery,” Gordon said. “I loved that most. That’s what got me started in this business because it was like a gallery.”
Working in that gallery Gordon made a lot of connections with different artists. She even ended up renting and buying some of their work.
“The artists I rented and bought from actually became the artists I represented later when I had a gallery because I got to know them and that grew and grew,” Gordon said. “That’s when I knew that’s what I wanted to do.”
When Gordon was ready to open a gallery she went to Green Spring Station in Lutherville. There was no art in that area at the time and Gordon was ready to change that.
“This location is the best,” Gordon said. “I did outdoor sculpture shows here before I had an interior space. Because my shows were outdoors they had to be sculptures, so I got to know sculptures first.”
Gordon admits that when was in college she liked sculptures more because it was so physical. She also believes there is a better camaraderie between sculptures then there is between painters. Even though she is trained as a painter, most of Gordon’s first shows were sculpture shows.
One of Gordon’s favorite parts of being a gallery owner is getting to know different artists from around the world and show their work in her gallery. When first starting out, she chose artists she knew and collected simply because she liked them. Right now, Judy Zinman Heimann is showing her latest series, , at Gordon’s gallery.
Having an art background herself, it is easy for Gordon to relate and feel the passion other artists have. She thinks it is important to give them a space to show their work. And not only is it important to the artists, it is important to the town. Gordon says her gallery is a good place to check out because there is always something happening.
“I think the attraction to my gallery is its diversity,” Gordon said. “There is something for everyone. And the best part of everything for me is it’s a way to engage with the community and to really get to know people.”