O’Dunn Fine Art celebrates fifth year despite adverse economy

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Art can prove to be a dauntingly challenging trade venture even in prosperous times, but it would be especially inadvisable to undertake in one of the toughest economic climates in recent history. Yet, that is exactly what Shannon O’Dunn, owner of O’Dunn Fine Art plunged herself into five years ago.

Art can prove to be a dauntingly challenging trade venture even in prosperous times, but it would be especially inadvisable to undertake in one of the toughest economic climates in recent history. Yet, that is exactly what Shannon O’Dunn, owner of O’Dunn Fine Art plunged herself into five years ago.

“I was turning 65, after an unsuccessful run for La Mesa City Council, when I decided to open my gallery. I saw no point in doing it at 70, while waiting for the economy to improve,” O’Dunn explained, in efforts to convey the urgency that motivated her to act before her age would prove to be, perhaps, an even more discouraging factor than that of the already crippled economy.

“March 27 marks our fifth year in business,” O’Dunn declared, adding, “There are only five art dealers in East County and I am the only one that specializes in fine arts.”

What sets O’Dunn Fine Art even more apart as a rather singular place in our community could be the fact that it is referred to, in the industry, as a “destination gallery.” Although located in the charming and centrally desirable heart of downtown La Mesa, O’Dunn explained that as such, location plays a less essential role.
“I could be anywhere, and it would not matter. I’m not selling prints or copies or giclees, but I’m dealing exclusively with original works by established artists and dead artists that are sought-after by a specific and small segment of the population,” she said.

“The clients could find you even if you were in a Kearny Mesa warehouse. Yet I love being in this location,” O’Dunn clarified, adding, “I like the village atmosphere. It is a friendly and very safe environment, especially for a woman.”

To celebrate the beginning of the fifth year in business, O’Dunn Fine Art had a grand re-opening after undergoing a remodel that lightened the space, added new artists, a new painting exhibition and the unveiling of a terrarium collection with a price point starting at $30.
“This can capture a walk-in client and it’s proving to be a good move as I’ve sold six since last Friday,” O’Dunn explained.

The gallery showcases the original works of approximately 60 artists, with price ranges between $200 and $12,000. Among them are a few paintings by O’Dunn herself.
“But it’s all about the other artists,” she emphasized. With a background in academia, O’Dunn was a college professor at Grossmont College from 1971 through 2005. With a second unsuccessful run for La Mesa City Council in 2012 behind her, O’Dunn summed up her success in her specialized art field by simply stating, “It’s what I do now,” while understating the inescapable fact that she’s managed to do it quite well in the face of such daunting economic odds.

O’Dunn Fine Art is located at 8325 La Mesa Blvd. Hours of operation are Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. For additional information, call (619) 337-8342.

O’Dunn Fine Art celebrates fifth year despite adverse economy