Gaines Peyton is a painter and co-owner of the Sears Peyton Gallery in Chelsea. Her husband, Kyle Creane, left a career in advertising to write a young-adult novel and take care of their daughter, three-year-old Matilda. When they’re not enjoying their friendly Brooklyn neighborhood, the trio spend time at the gallery, which makes a point of accommodating parents with a yen for collecting.
What’s life like, running a gallery?
GP It’s amazing; it’s my dream job. I moved to New York to be a painter, and then I discovered that I enjoy business, too. So it’s a perfect marriage of those two interests. My partner, Macie Sears, and I are able to find new talent and bring their work to a wider audience. It’s incredibly rewarding.
What kind of art do you think appeals to children?
GP I’ve found that kids really respond to art when they can imagine how it was made. Kathryn Lynch, an artist we’re exhibiting, has work that is so exuberant. The brushwork has a casual quality about it, and yet it’s incredibly sophisticated and economical, the way she renders so much with so little. Kids appreciate the energy of her work.
Is your gallery kid-friendly?
GP Oh, yeah, we have toys in the back room to occupy children if parents want to linger. The best art hits people in a primal, emotional kind of way, and that works on you no matter how old you are. And it’s such a fun thing, bringing your kids to Chelsea.
How are Matilda’s artistic skills?
KC It’s against our nature to brag, but she’s got a gift.
GP She loves to paint. She loves to give me a painting and say that I can take it to the gallery and sell it. Lately she’s been making collages, where we start with some old thing I got at a flea market, like an old Audubon, and she paints on top of it. Somehow it gets her going. And she’s great at face painting. She goes to the Brooklyn Waldorf School. It’s an arts-based school; it’s very progressive and based on the Rudolf Steiner model. They cook, make bread and butter and soup. Everything’s handmade.
KC There’s a competition among all the fathers to bring in the best vegetables.
How do you like raising your child in the city?
GP I would never consider raising her anywhere else. When I’m pushing Matilda on the swing at the playground and start chatting with the person next to me, that person is inevitably someone I want to talk with. When you grow up in other places, you’re consuming the culture produced somewhere else, and being from Florida, I always wanted to get to the epicenter. Just an ordinary trip to the playground in Brooklyn is a reminder that you’re in that epicenter. The people that you start talking to, they work on Broadway or they’re writing a comic book—they’re all pursuing something. And even if they’re not creative types, there’s a like-mindedness. When we’re visiting our friends in the suburbs, I’ll have closet envy, but I’ll always feel so happy to be here because of the people.
KC Matilda finds it to be very connecting; she’s interested in people in a way that I don’t think happens if you’re not in Brooklyn. She’ll walk up to people and ask, “Can I watch you eat?”
What types of activities do you do as a family?
KC Spring through fall, we live in Underwood Park and we spend a lot of time in Pratt’s sculpture garden. In the winter we just keep our doors open. It’s really a dream; we feel very lucky. There are five kids in our building, and usually in the cold weather they all get together and set up a “restaurant.” GP You know how on sitcoms there’s always the intrusive neighbor who bursts in talking, Kramer style? We have four of those. They come in and get the team moving.
The Sears Peyton Gallery is located at 210 Eleventh Ave between 24th and 25th Sts, suite 802 (212-966-7469, searspeyton.com). Subway: C, E to 23rd St. Open Tue--Fri 11am--6pm.