Launched in 2017, the Gallery at Bona began as a way for a local business in Wilton Manners to give back to the arts community. Owners of Bona Italian Restaurant Glen Weinzimer and Mark Byrd approached Vice President of ArtsUnited and photographer Dennis Dean about using a space adjacent to their main dining room as a gallery space for his work. Dennis worked closely with the restaurant owners to optimize the space with gallery lighting and other minor modifications to make it as conducive a space for art as possible without limiting its main purpose as a wine bar and waiting area for the main dining room. This collaboration worked so well that Dennis then proposed to Glen and Mark that the potential of this space could be further amplified by members of ArtsUnited for a monthly solo exhibition.
The space has now been converted to Apertivo at Bona, a bar and lounge. It is a popular addition and the Gallery is a great way for new and emerging local artists to introduce themselves to the community. On the first Wednesday of the month from 6:00 – 7:30 pm, the Apertivo at Bona Gallery features a different ArtsUnited member artist in a visual solo exhibit and a complimentary reception. Not only is this a fantastic opportunity for visual artists to network, it further strengthens the ties between the LGBTQ+ and the wider community. Since 2017, the Gallery has featured more than 50 artists and their unique personal exhibitions, with plans to feature many more artists in the years to come.