By Michael Singman-Aste
“My name is Gary Francis Comoglio, and throughout my whole lifetime, my last name has been butchered,” the artist-turned-gallerist said. So he decided to go with something “easier and more concise” when he launched his gallery, Gary Francis Fine Art. His image makeover coincides with that of his venue.
Have you been to Pillow Park lately? After 40 years of being a furniture store, the front gates closed while “Pillow Park Plaza”—now simply “Park Street Plaza”—was completely remodeled. In addition to Gary Francis Fine Art, the space is now home to a collection of boutique shops: Clothiers Aphrodite’s Closet (displaced from their previous location by a fire) and Lanvie, Dandelion Flowers Gifts, Artistic Home Studio Boutique—co-owned by JaYing Wang, who taught art to a generation of Alameda’s children—mobile café Gotham Harbor Coffee, and Bonne Vie Fine Spirits Cigars.
Nestled down a long corridor on Park Street between the defunct Bonaire Bakery and Hong Kong seafood, many passersby are unaware that anything has changed, and “I didn’t even know this was here” is something Comoglio hears on a weekly basis. Debbie and Frank George own Bonne Vie, and the property.
“They’ve done a tremendous job transforming this building from the furniture store,” Comoglio said.