Spotlight: Gale Ray, Talented Painter and Volunteer


Featured: Gale Ray painting the faux fireplace in the Banks’s house on Cherry Tree Lane.


Q1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you originally from and what is your involvement in the arts?

I’m from Meridian, MS, and have lived in Charleston for 19 years. Before coming to Charleston, I lived in Savannah for 8 years. I earned my MFA in Fiber Arts at the Savannah College of Art and Design. I taught at the college for 2 years then pursued a career as a fiber artist. I developed a fabric that was part clear and part solid which I painted and assembled in layers to create three dimensional tapestries. My focus was on creating man-made and natural passageways or portals. I exhibited and sold my work in high-end juried craft shows throughout the country namely the Smithsonian Craft Show, Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show, American Craft Expo in Chicago, the Washington Craft Show and all the major American Craft Council craft shows.

In 2000 I changed direction studying faux painting with Nicola Vigini in San Antonio Texas and Faux Effects International in Vero Beach. My focus was on plaster finishes, Venetian plaster, mother of pearl plaster, glaze patinas, wood graining and furniture. One of my faux grained doors adorns the East Bay Street entry of the Edmondston-Alston Museum House.

Recently I have been concentrating on painting oil on canvas with a focus on Low-Country landscape. My style is minimal, color field painting with emphasis more on atmosphere than image. My paintings can be seen on line at


2) How long have you lived in Charleston and what do you enjoy most about Charleston?

I love living in Charleston with my partner of 27 years who is a professional violinist. I have a son who lives in Orlando with his wife and my 2 grandsons. I enjoy biking, yoga, going to the beach, doing yardwork and attending concerts. I love seafood, oyster roasts and going to Charleston’s wonderful array of fine restaurants. I enjoy getting from one place to another while experiencing expansive marsh views and subtle color changes. Charleston is a true inspiration for an artist.


3) How did you come across Charleston Stage and volunteering for the company?

My partner and I were walking down Warren Street one day several weeks ago and I was drawn into the studio as I watched a set being built. Josh Wetzstein, Charleston Stage’s Technical Director, greeted me and I said I would love to help paint. We exchanged info and here I am… having fun painting. I’m having a wonderful time helping paint the set for “Mary Poppins”.

Thank you to Josh Wetzstein for calling me and for Jessica Nova (Charleston Stage’s Shop Carpenter) for giving me directives on what needed to be painted. I have enjoyed hanging out with the cast and crew and all the other artists who help produce the show.


If you would like to learn more about the Backstage Volunteer Opportunities with Charleston Stage, click here.