North Raleigh To Italy In 20 Minutes
By Correspondant Beth Shugg

Walking into Nicole’s Studio & Gallery at 715 North Person Street is like being in Italy without a passport. One is immediately surrounded by large oil paintings by Nicole White Kennedy of Portofino, Venice, Tuscany, Rome, Santa Margherita, Lake Como, Florence, etc.

But it doesn’t stop there. Since the gallery’s expansion this May to over 2,200 square feet, over a dozen area artists ranging from nationally acclaimed to emerging are also on display. The expansion was celebrated with a group exhibit called, Per La Mare/ By The Sea, and included Raleigh artists, Bob Rankin, Eric McRay, Roxanna Alexander, Toni Cappel, Ann Jenkins and many others.While writing this, there are over a hundred pieces of artwork in a variety of media depicting scenes from Provence to coastal North Carolina, Charleston, Bermuda, even downtown Raleigh. And of course, Italy.

It all started in 1995 when Nicole left her New York City advertising career and moved to Raleigh with her husband, Parker Kennedy, a Raleigh native. They opened Caffé Luna, a popular downtown restaurant with an emphasize on Tuscan cuisine. The restaurant’s decor naturally evolved to scenes of Tuscany with the walls displaying oils by Nicole. It was only a matter of time before she started selling out of the restaurant. Consequently, Nicole needed a studio outside of her home to paint for the Luna's walls and found herself in a retail setting. Nicole’s Studio & Gallery opened in April 2000.

Almost all of the available work at Nicole’s Studio & Art Gallery can be viewed at: www.nicolestudio.com People in North Raleigh, Cary, Durham & Chapel Hill are very busy and often don’t have the time to drive from gallery to gallery, says Nicole. ?Since many people already know I carry a huge selection of Italian imagery, particularly large canvases for the newer homes being built in the Triangle, clients typically check out the web site prior to coming in. Of course they also see work by other artists I represent.

Last month she sold a painting online to a collector in Fargo, North Dakota. People also visit the gallery for a consultation with Nicole who frequently paints on commission. She takes clients through her extensive photo collection of Italy so they can work together to create a unique painting for the client’s home. Nicole will also bring a carload of paintings directly to a client’s home who wants to ?try? out a painting, but isn’t sure which one(s). Lately she has been decorating corporate offices with both her her own paintings and other artist’s represented at the gallery.

Nicole’s Studio & Gallery is located in the Mordecai section of Raleigh which is currently undergoing a Renaissance-style renovation. Other artisans moving into the area include high end custom furniture and home renovation woodcrafters, Tucker's Handcrafted, DKB Woodworking plus specialty stores like Conti’s Italian Market and Chef Rameaux’s Cajun Cooking.

The large gallery space is also available for those who want to host a private function in a casual creative setting. Morgan Stanley once held a financial seminar that included olive oil tasting, fundraisers have been hosted amongst other private functions.
From Wakefield the trip is only 20 minutes following Falls of Neuse, down Litchfield Rd, Atlantic Avenue , Old Wake Forest, then Blount Street. At Peace Street go left, another left on Person and Nicole’s Studio & Gallery is another two blocks down on the left past Krispy Kreme Doughnuts.