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Gold Standard

Famed gallerina Fay Gold gets her second wind and remains the star of Atlanta’s art scene as she prepares to open the Fay Gold Gallery in the Westside Cultural Arts Center.

Fay Gold stands near a Hense mural outside her new art gallery.

 

Fay Gold is ready for her next act, after living through the closing of her renowned gallery three years ago and the death of her beloved husband, Donald. “Once in a while a miracle happens,” she explains, “and an artist or an art dealer not only survives middle age but also remains creative. After 65, I got my second wind.”

Gold, who turned 81 this past spring, leans forward to explain, “Accepting the inevitable, [i.e.] dealing with death since my husband died—I know it’s a reality. But by accepting the inevitable, I’m no longer weighed down by it. I am released from it, which gives me joy when I open my eyes each morning and have another day. I want to penetrate the mystery of things and, in doing that, celebrate the ultimate mystery of human life. At 90, Picasso said ‘When I paint, I don’t grow old; I leave my body at the door.’ I love that.”

Gold has been busy as a consultant to a few select clients and working on revamping her own living space. Currently, she’s opening the Fay Gold Gallery in the Westside Cultural Arts Center on the corner of 10th Street and Brady Avenue, in collaboration with Dr. James Chappuis. You can’t miss the building—all four sides are adorned with murals painted by the artist Hense.

Why go back into the retail art world and expend the reimagination that running a business requires? “It’s the idea that I can make something happen, change people’s lives, make them see the world differently, awaken the imaginary part of the brain so that they question things. That makes me feel like I’m making a difference.” So, does age play a role for Gold? “No, age has a great sense of peace and freedom for me. I no longer need the ego of youth.”

For many, with age comes freedom. You’re not encumbered by obligations because the deference given to age gives you the freedom to act—to be who you want. Many are no longer worried about convention or societal censure—becoming selfish in a good way. Gold tips her head and gives a measured look. “In many ways, you become young again. I’m alone, and it gives me the chance to rediscover me. I don’t feel old.”

She flashes a smile. “I have the freedom to play as I did when I opened [my first gallery] in 1980, and that’s what I want to do now—have the freedom to do things that no one else in Atlanta is doing. They say that I started contemporary art, artists like Basquiat—which I did! My role now is to educate, to bring in shows that no one else can do. I discovered Radcliffe Bailey right here in Atlanta—and if another Radcliffe Bailey comes along, I’m ready to promote their career, [too].”

Needless to say, whether she’s consulting or running another gallery, the Atlanta art scene will never be dull with Gold firmly ensconced in the epicenter.