Gross McCleaf Gallery has been a positive and enduring fixture in Philadelphia's art scene for over half a century. With the mission of promoting established, mid-career, and emerging artists, GMG has provided a beautiful space for the exhibition of fine art in a convenient Center City location. The gallery features monthly exhibits in its three gallery spaces as well as on-site access to its extensive inventory. The welcoming staff at GMG is ready to provide information and guidance as you build your personal or corporate collection.
GMG was founded in 1969 by Estelle Shane Gross. Upon the urging of her friend and mentor Hobson Pittman, Gross opened the gallery in 1970 at 1713 Walnut Street, establishing herself as a second-floor New York style gallery with a stable of artists. Early exhibitors included Fairfield Porter, Neil Welliver, Rackstraw Downes, Red Grooms and his wife Mimi Gross, Jane Piper, Benny Andrews, and Larry Day among others. In 1986, anticipating that 16th Street would be an important pedestrian cross-street between the new Liberty Place and Walnut Street, Gross moved her gallery to 127 S. 16th Street, personally supervising the renovation of an old hotel which would house her new gallery.
Sharon Ewing joined the gallery in 1970. When Estelle Gross died in 1992, Ewing assumed the position of owner/director of Gross McCleaf, and under her leadership the gallery expanded its support of local and regional artists.
With a background in Art History and business, Ewing focused on having a diverse selection of represented artists and aimed to demystify the art world by making it more accessible to everyone. Her goal was to offer a welcoming atmosphere where people could browse, talk, and become familiar with the Philadelphia art community. Recently, as some art spaces decided to go strictly online or by appointment, Ewing argued for the future of “the brick and mortar gallery”.
She said, “A commercial gallery is not a museum. It is a space where work by living and practicing artists can be seen by collectors, visitors to the city, students, and other artists. A gallery that is open to the public is the primary place where people can experience original contemporary artwork and where they can envision bringing this artwork into their homes or offices. A gallery allows one to have the opportunity to see a work of art in person rather than have it mediated by photography and computer screens. In addition, galleries provide a staff that is available for conversation and information. There is no admission charge for the shows at commercial galleries and art lovers who benefit from the opportunity to engage with the works may then become customers and collectors.”
Ewing’s message to clients is, “Get to know the local art dealers and artists. You will find that you are able to acquire quality art at less than New York prices. With so many fine art programs in the city, all with faculty and yearly emerging talent, Philadelphia provides a unique opportunity for collectors.”
In 2020, at the half century mark, Ewing retired and the gallery is currently under the direction and ownership of Rebecca Segall. Segall is an accomplished mixed media artist, and a graduate of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. She continues to be involved with many aspects of the Philadelphia art world as a member of both the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Women's Committee, and the Philadelphia Musuem of Art's South Asian Art Committee.
Rebecca is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Children’s Crisis Treatment Center (cctckids.org), a private non-profit agency that specializes in delivering behavioral health services to Philadelphia's children and their families.
"I'm an avid art collector, and very passionate about the meaningful impact of art, not only throughout the world but in each of our lives. I deeply appreciate time spent with artwork in person, an enriching experience (especially when welcoming a new piece of art into my home) that I expressly wish to share with others. I look forward to connecting with Gross McCleaf's longtime base of supportive customers, patrons and art enthusiasts."
Morgan Hobbs is the assistant director of Gross McCleaf Gallery. She is a prolific artist, curator, and educator based in Philadelphia, PA and a graduate of the Masters of Fine Arts program at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Morgan received her Bachelor of Fine Arts at the University of Central Missouri, where she studied painting and anthropology. Hobbs has since enjoyed jurying and organizing numerous exhibitions at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Gross McCleaf Gallery, AUTOMAT, and beyond. Of her interest in curating, she says, “I love to support artists and their careers…. I’m deeply inspired by all those who have dedicated their lives to making art.”
Morgan has shown her artwork both regionally and nationally, including at Satellite Projects in Miami, 33 Orchard in New York, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts museum, and Fleisher/Ollman Gallery in Philadelphia. She has presented her work and writing at the National Conference for Undergraduate Research in Ogden, Utah; the University of Central Missouri; Pennsylvania College of Art and Design; University of Massachusetts, Amherst; and more. In 2012 and 2020, she attended Vermont Studio Center as an Artist in Residence, and in 2020, she was awarded a Hemera Contemplative Fellowship.
Hobbs is a co-founder of AUTOMAT Gallery, an artist-run collective and gallery space also based in Philadelphia.