Tom Cramer and Michael Hernandez: the Close of the High Street Gallery

The other evening we went to the penultimate event at the High Street Gallery.  The last evening of the current exhibit, and of the Gallery, is this coming Saturday, June 16th…put it on your calendar and head over there to see a good exhibit and to say goodbye to the gallery.  Michael Hernandez opened the gallery about 2 years ago and in a town starved for venues, it was a breath of fresh air.  With an idiosyncratic location (2 blocks north of town on Broadway…off of an alley), The High Street Gallery is big, white and ideal…windows (but not too many), long walls, pretty good light…sweet.  Michael and his gallery were immediately noticed and patronized by the art loving public, but he never once got the newspaper to write about him, or even to include his gallery in the calendar.

Salem is a tough place for art and artists.  The favored price point is low (under $200, though there are many lovely houses locally filled with wonderful expensive work purchased in Portland.)   The thing that made me an early supporter of the High Street Gallery was Hernandez’ support of local artists who almost never have a chance to show work here for lack of a venue, and the shows were wonderful.  There are good artists here in Salem, making interesting work.   The  gallery existed because next door was the graphic design studio (The Bruin Co.) that Michael runs and which subsidized the gallery rent.  Now as his business expands he needs a different office so…goodbye High Street Gallery;

For his last show Hernandez is show-casing his own work and the work of Portland artist Tom Cramer.  Michael is showing many of his own paintings…

This one is called “Sea Glass”…

and here’s “New York”…(with a detail)

and some constructions.

Tom Cramer has some smaller work combining wood-burning and oil paint on wooden panels…



but the intriguing piece is this…

the remnants of a lively mural which once stood on Williams Street in Portland, but was demolished this past year…

The gallery is giving away the remnants at the close of the show…(can you guess which ones we chose?)

Theoretically the new building will have a new Cramer mural (part outside the building, and part inside…

the possibilities

if they follow through.

Every Saturday night for a couple of years the  High Street Gallery has been there to give gallery-goers a glass of wine, a bite to eat,/ and a sense of community.  Michael Hernandez and his fiancee interior designer Angee Loree Schmitt have been gracious hosts…and will still be an active part of the local art scene, but NOT at 700 NE High/Broadway, alas.








  1. this is a very special post, bonnie. thank you for honoring the high street gallery and the part it played in this community. michael and angee are super special, and we will miss the saturday night gatherings in that wonderful space. we especially enjoyed your featuring michael’s work and in closeup. as to the pieces of the cramer mural you two chose, i’m only guessing of course, the flesh and white colored piece two up from the #6 since it has those charming “stitches” and maybe the one in the right knee, turquoise, black and pink, and the one that asks Y. at least those are the ones i favor. our 34th wedding anniversary coming up on the 17th and so we are going to have to miss this closing, alas, as we are taking a road trip to celebrate our years together. hope many folks will attend saturday the 16th to send michael off with all best for his new adventure.

  2. High St. Gallery is proud to have have served Salem’s art community! We couldn’t have done it without Angee, Cy, Carsyn and ya’ll.

    Thank goodness for the arts. And people like Bonnie Hull.

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