Susan Siegmund took over as owner of the art gallery Art on Centre in downtown Fernandina Beach in 2018 after choosing a different career path after years of working in management for several Chamber of Commerce’s. She takes pride in her gallery having a welcoming atmosphere and featuring nearly 30 artists, including many locals.
Can you please briefly tell us about your background and where you are from?
I am a native of Jacksonville, and my career in Chamber of Commerce management took me from Fernandina Beach to Jacksonville Beach, on to downtown Jacksonville and ending in St. Augustine.
I have gone from helping small businesses flourish to owning one myself, a journey in and out of retirement with my Pepsi exec husband David, to representing nearly 30 established artists from all over the U.S. in my fine art gallery that specializes in “contemporary coastal” pieces.
I love this area because it’s just a little beach town. I enjoy offshore fishing, fashion and mentoring is the most important thing for me as a human.
What led you to get involved with and becoming owner of Art on Centre in Fernandina Beach?
Art on Centre was opened in 2014 by two very enterprising couples who took early retirement from their respective industries, moved to Amelia Island, and created a sensational art gallery.
Four years later they sold it to me, and we’ve tried to maintain their original concept of providing an approachable yet provocative atmosphere.
A visit to Art on Centre, located in the heart of the Historic District of the quaint city of Fernandina Beach right up A1A from Ponte Vedra Beach, is where you can find happiness in many different shapes and sizes.
What are your goals and approach for Art on Centre?
Purchasing the gallery began in a “behind the scenes” capacity, with my daughter Courtney at the helm for the first 30 months.
David and I now run the show, selling, delivering and installing art all over the North Florida region, and personal service is the hallmark of our approach.
Like many retail businesses, fine art galleries have a discriminating customer base, but the sheer numbers of new residents to the area has brought a newer, younger group of art collectors.
Their tastes run the gamut and are met by artists and businesses all over the First Coast.
What are the most rewarding parts of your role as owner of the gallery?
The art displayed in your home has an immediate impact. It establishes an atmosphere from serene to eclectic; it declares your taste as traditional or avant garde; but best of all, it makes you happy.
The most important thing a successful gallery must accomplish is to bring personalized service to each and every one who walks through the door.
This is what makes Art on Centre so special, according to our customers. There is no judgement and no preconceived expectations, just a friendly smile and information offered about each piece of art and details about the artists’ background. It seems to be working for us.
A visit to Art on Centre in downtown Fernandina Beach might result in finding just the right addition to your home, or you could just have a great conversation with interesting people surrounded by great art. You should give it a try.
How would you describe the local arts community?
The art community, from St. Augustine to Amelia Island, is very vibrant and the local galleries reflect the diversity of this creativity.
We have to distinguish ourselves to succeed and our customers always comment on the variety and quality of our art.
St. Augustine based artists Claire Jane Kendrick and Phillip Anthony are here, along with Jacksonville Beach’s Russ Wilson.
Two amazing Tallahassee artists, Paul Tamanian and sculptor Mark Dickson, display their works here, too. Add about twenty-five more of this caliber, and you start to get the picture, literally.