Lake Street is home to Wayzata’s newest art gallery, Burnet Fine Art & Advisory, which opened in September. This isn’t the first gallery venture for owner Ralph Burnet and director Jennifer Phelps—they previously collaborated on the Burnet Gallery, which was housed at Le Meridien Chambers hotel in Minneapolis from 2006 to 2015.
The new Wayzata space is a continuation of the Burnet Gallery and brings a similar focus on contemporary artists, from local to national and international. “We do have artists who are in museums, but also artists from the local community, so there’s a wide range, which is really fun,” Phelps says. “You can come in and see an artist from Minneapolis hanging right next to an artist with an international reputation.”
After the Burnet Gallery closed in 2015, Phelps was working on her own as an art consultant. Then, she says, Burnet thought that with Wayzata “just booming, with a lot of restaurants, a new hotel going in, and streets just packed with people having a great time and roaming around,” it would be a great time to open a gallery there. “So he decided to open one with the idea that other galleries will follow, and maybe we can even have a gallery scene out here,” Phelps says.
Burnet has lived in Wayzata for more than 30 years and felt sure the community would support an art gallery. “We love the idea of Wayzata. And based on early response, Wayzata is the right decision,” he says. Burnet says art has been a passion for him and his wife, Peggy, for more than 35 years. His primary business was real estate; he started Burnet Realty—now Coldwell Banker Burnet—45 years ago and recently retired. “Now I’m in the art world,” he says. “It’s the best.”
The new gallery’s collection and sales branch is similar to the Minneapolis location, but what’s new is the advisory portion of the business. “It was something we noticed was lacking and we really wanted to do,” Phelps says. There are a few components to the advising. First, staff can help customers find work from a particular artist. Another service is to recommend artwork within a budget. “And if someone is downsizing or has been given something from their parents and it’s been under the bed for five million years, or has artwork and they don’t know what to do with it, we can help,” Phelps explains. Burnet staff also offer guidance on investing in art. Phelps says they can recommend artists they feel will do well in the market.
Another important thing to the gallery is the idea of “art for all.” “We want anyone with any budget to come in and feel comfortable,” Phelps says. “Some things are $200, and some are 10 or 15 times that, so it’s a wide price range.” But the gallery isn’t just about buying and selling art—it will have a couple exhibitions a year, and in between those there will be artwork always on display and rotation. Phelps and Burnet also want to have educational talks and artist talks as part of their schedule. “Come down and see us,” Phelps says. “We’ll be that blast of color and fun in the middle of January. It’s a great place to learn about and see artists you might not see on a day-to-day basis.”