Dragonfly Gallery: The next chapter
Newly transplanted Vineyarders seem to invariably find their niche - a way to offer their talents and interests to the community. In the case of painter Don McKillop and his wife, Susan Davy, an avocational photographer, it was an easy evolution.
The Boston-area natives have a long history with Dragonfly Gallery in the Oak Bluffs Arts District because Mr. McKillop has been showing his paintings there for the past 12 years. In the course of their association with the gallery, they developed a friendship with the gallery's owner, Holly Alaimo, and her husband, pianist John Alaimo.
Photo by Susan Safford
Serendipity and good timing: Mr. McKillop and Ms. Davy, who both have masters degrees in business administration, have become the new owners of the Dragonfly Gallery.
Although Mr. McKillop had spent much of his working life in the field of technology, he left it in 1989 in favor of doing pen and ink renderings for an architectural firm. He also renewed his commitment to pursuing painting as a profession.
Ms. Davy's background is in finance, primarily working with nonprofits. She was the CFO of both the Peabody Essex Museum and the Isabella Steward Gardner Museum in Boston. She was also formerly employed as a teacher and executive director for a Montessori school. Her interest in photography has been a constant: "I've been a passionate photographer all my life."
As of last year, Ms. Alaimo had no thoughts of selling the gallery that she founded 14 years ago. She planned on hiring Mr. McKillop to help her with computer-related matters. She had also often recruited the couple to lend a hand with receptions, and fill in when she and John had to be away.
The subject of selling came up with Ms. Davy and Mr. McKillop in December, just before they embarked on a three-month cross-country drive. "We talked about it during the trip," says Mr. McKillop, noting, "We were not looking for a gallery, and we wouldn't have been interested in any other gallery, but we always felt at home here."
Says Ms. Davy, who will continue to work as a nonprofit consultant, "We both took a long, hard look, both from a personal as well as a financial perspective, as to what this would mean to us at this point in life."
Ms. Alaimo's primary concern was for the artists she had already booked, many of whom she had represented for years. She says, "My artists were all set up for the shows. I couldn't pull the rug out from underneath them."
Mr. McKillop agreed to honor her arrangements, and also enlisted Ms. Alaimo to work a few days a week, and help hanging shows. "It's key for us," he says. "She's such an icon on the Vineyard and having her support is really important to us."
Ms. Alaimo compares the new owners to herself and her husband when they first started the business 14 years ago. She feels confident turning the reins over to people who share her vision and her enthusiasm for local art and the community.