Inspiration from a Colorful Muse

Like the color itself the Chartreuse Muse is edgy and contemporary. Jennifer Price, the Gallery Manager, explains that a muse can be defined as something or someone that gives inspiration. The Chartreuse Muse Gallery and Art School is a place where one can be inspired.

Started in 2002 they moved in 2007 to their current location at 918 10th Street in Modesto. Co-owners Sandra Veneman and Ellen Roehne, both skilled artists, had a vision for a space where they would have room both to work and to show their work. It is their goal to let people of all ages experience the arts for themselves. Pablo Picasso is quoted as saying, “Every child is an artist, the problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” Today they offer classes for children and adults in a variety of mediums including drawing, painting and ceramics. This multifaceted approach is ideal for those who have had limited exposure to the visual arts. They cater to all ages and skill levels, with classes ranging from “Mommy and Me” to figure drawing class for adults that features an undraped model.

The classes focus on building up skills, while simultaneously introducing students to art theory and connecting the techniques they are learning to art history. One program they offer is Mobile Muse, which goes into public school to teach art classes. The number of Mobile Muse classes has tripled in the last year.

The Chartreuse Muse gallery features a rotating array of fine art by local artists. This commitment to focusing on local artists gives the public the rare opportunity to see pieces by artists working in their community. According to Price the gallery is “open to anything,” displaying all forms of art, including painting, sculpture, photography, metalwork and ceramics. The gallery seeks out local artists, taking into consideration the artist’s ethos or how their work would be a good fit with the theme of an upcoming show. Local artists are also welcome to submit a portfolio for review.

paint brushes

Photo by Rob Weiher |
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial License

Price encourages those who don’t consider themselves to be an artist, but who want to explore their artistic side to “just start.” She says, “draw everyday, paint everyday,” even if you don’t think you are very good, try to ignore the self-doubt and just enjoy the process. The instructors tell their students that great artists became great through trail-and-error and what may seem like a mistake can turn into something remarkable.

The gallery is free and open to the public. With only a few exceptions everything in the gallery is for sale. In addition to the fine art pieces on display there are gift objects, including jewelry, cards and ceramics. These quirky and colorful items were all created by artists who have ties to the Central Valley. The Chartreuse Muse sets itself apart from other local galleries by featuring work that pushes the bounds of the traditional; a place meant to inspire.

For more information go to or call (209) 522‑0935.

Published in Contentment magazine | Issue 16 – May/June 2015

magzine screen shot muse

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