When artist Luke Harvey and Keryn Smith-Harvey discovered 81 High Street was up for sale, they knew it was for them.
Having scouted Tasmania for the perfect location to house an 81-painting collection started by Harvey in 2009, the Campbell Town block represented a numerical coincidence too good to pass up.
Having left behind jobs and the family home in Brisbane, the pair will begin their first venture into small business when art gallery and cafe Gallery 81 opens on Friday night.
“We fell in love with Tasmania in January 2014 when we came down for a holiday, and when we decided we wanted to open an art gallery we knew where we wanted to come,” Mrs Smith-Harvey said.
“This is really exciting and we believe it will be successful in the sense that it gives us a great lifestyle and that’s what it’s about.”
Taking on the old site of Hooked fish and chip cafe, the pair enlisted the help of GLB Constructions to transform an empty block into a site which is in itself a worthy piece of art.
As well as offering visitors coffee, wine and cheese, the gallery will permanently house all 81 of Harvey’s Tao Te Ching-inspired collection alongside a further 42 pieces which will be up for sale.
Mrs Smith-Harvey hoped the hospitality side of the business would encourage visitors to spend some time connecting with the works.
“A lot of art galleries are just walk-in walk-out but we want them to stay and connect with the art.
“It’s one of those semi-retirement projects where Luke gets to paint and I get to talk to lots of people and that’s not a bad thing to do.
“As long as people enjoy it and we have bit of fun that’s all we want from it really.”
The Gallery 81 opening night will run from 4.30pm to 9pm on Friday.
For more information visit the Gallery 81 Facebook page.