Sara Kay

“I think this was always the end goal,” says Sara Kay, who this week will open the doors to her own gallery in the East Village. “It was always a dream, even though I did a number of different things to get to this point.”

Sara Kay Gallery is the culmination of her 20-year career, which includes stints as director of the White Cube gallery in London, director of the fine art department at Jan Krugier Gallery, and as a specialist for Christie’s. Her gallery will reflect the various art periods and disciplines that her professional career has touched upon, with a focus on supporting female artists.

“It made sense for me to gain experience and expertise in different areas that all spoke to each other that all led me to this point and prepared me,” she says. “So now that I’ve done that over so many years, the timing is right for me. I paid my dues.”

The gallery is located on East 2nd Street in a historic townhouse; while the open brick-walled layout is a nontraditional choice for a gallery space, it’s one that matched her vision. “I think the townhouse found me,” she adds.

The opening exhibition is “A Limitless Vision: The Collection of Audrey B. Heckler,” which will mark the public debut of many pieces from Heckler’s private collection of outsider art. Accompanying the show will also be ceramics by Picasso (she was exclusive agent for works from the Marina Picasso Estate while at Jan Krugier), and a cast by Dubuffet. As the founder of the Professional Organization of Women in the Arts, Kay plans to be particularly supportive of female artists; the gallery’s next solo exhibition will feature the work of Natalie Frank.

Taking account of such a varied background, the gallery marks a full-circle for Kay; she began her career as an intern for the American Folk Art Museum in 1997 while the museum was developing an exhibit on contemporary outsider art.

“Throughout my career, even though I’ve done different things and focused in different areas, I do feel like that was a focus in and of itself,” Kay adds, mulling over her differing focus areas throughout the years. “The focus is that thread, that conversation, that activity between those various points and how they work together and that creates a vision.”

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