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Dragon’s Lair gets ‘Game of Thrones’ boost

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Local art showcase: Heather Kromer, right and Cris Dapena, at the new Dragon’s Lair Gallery in St George (Photograph by Jessie Moniz Hardy)

Finding The Dragon’s Lair gallery in St George can be tricky, like any good dragon’s den.

The art gallery is around the corner from Davidrose Jewellery and behind Tempest Bistro on Water Street.

If your quest fails, there are signs with very large arrows pointing in the right direction.

Cris Dapena, the former Chamber of Commerce president, and several others, opened the gallery six weeks ago, under the Dragon Slayer Purpose Trust.

The goal is to give visitors something new to look at, local artists somewhere new to show their work, and to put the Olde Towne back on the map.

“The most important thing is to revitalise St George,” Ms Dapena said.

Ms Dapena first had the idea for the gallery while out walking her dog in St George, with a friend.

“We were talking about St George and the state of retail and tourism activity in the town and wishing someone would do something to reinvigorate it,” she said.

“We came up with the thought that art colony towns everywhere in the world are hugely popular. They thrive as places for visitors to go to, even drawing visitors from nearby traditional tourist destinations. There is a town in Baja California, Mexico, called Bahia Todos Santos. People make the two-hour drive to it from Cabo San Lucas, Mexico all the time because it is an arts colony.”

Now the thought is to turn St George into an equally charming and fun arts colony.

The name “Dragon Slayer” was meant to be a play on the town’s name. The St George of lore, was a dragon slayer.

“Early on, one of our very kind volunteers said that is kind of a violent name and is evocative of harsh things,” Ms Dapena said.

The volunteer suggested they call the gallery The Dragon’s Lair. The name proved more successful than they ever anticipated.

“We didn’t take into account the popularity of HBO’s Game of Thrones,” Ms Dapena laughed. “Now we have a lot of people asking for dragons.”

They’re working on it. They do however have a dragon’s nest made from old drift wood, on display in the gallery.

One of the artists on exhibit is photographer Heather Kromer, former SPCA president.

Other than displaying her work in the odd BSoA show, she’d never sold any of her work before.

“It was just for fun,” she said. Then one day over breakfast with someone involved in the project, Ms Kromer’s husband mentioned that she took photographs. Ms Kromer was a little embarrassed, but thrilled when the new gallery took her on as an artist. She was even happier when one of her pieces sold.

“All of our artists have sold at least one piece,” Ms Dapena said.

People involved range from veterans like Jill Raine, to emerging artists like Skye Kermode, Tai Quan-Ottley and Caitlyn Bernard.

To keep costs down, all artists represented must take a turn manning the gallery.

Ms Dapena said when they first opened The Dragon’s Lair she expected their customers would be mostly visitors, but it didn’t happen that way.

“We have a lot of visitors,” she said, “but they are not the huge majority that I thought. We have a lot of locals coming.”

Ms Kromer said the residents coming in, have been complimentary and encouraging. “We are very happy about that,” she said.

Prices range from $3 to $600 for items such as full-scale paintings, greeting cards, 5x7 prints and cedar boxes, among other things. There is even a didgeridoo for sale.

The hope is to open more spaces like the Dragon’s Lair. Ms Dapena estimates there are probably 150 to 200 artists in Bermuda, many of whom don’t have much opportunity to show off their work.

“The more you talk to people and tell them about what we are doing here, they say well so and so is an artist,” Ms Kromer said. “They bring out their phones and show me. I get goose bumps.”

For more information find The Dragon’s Lair Gallery on Facebook or e-mail dragonslairbermuda@gmail.com. The gallery is open every day from 10am until 4pm

Heather Kromer, right, and Cris Dapena in the new The Dragon’s Lair Gallery in St George (Photograph by Jessie Moniz Hardy)
Cris Dapena, right, and Heather Kromer want to make St George into an arts colony (Photograph by Jessie Moniz Hardy)