On a Siberian day in early December, Art Forms Gallery owner Charlotte Scherer excuses herself from the conversation to stop in at a neighboring storefront. Things inside her Monmouth Street gallery have tended toward the frigid side this afternoon, so it’s become a priority to find out when a delivery of heating oil might be arranged.

Of course, this and other such real-world retailers’ woes — snow-covered sidewalks, curbside construction, plumbing problems — will soon be a thing of the past for the veteran dealer and collector of contemporary American art. After nearly 40 years in the vanguard of Monmouth County’s gallery scene — 24 of them here in Red Bank— Scherer is preparing to move her business once more, not just across the street this time (her first borough space was located on the lower level of
the old Red Bank Mini Mall), but to the virtual-world address of

This isn’t the “lights out” scenario it’s been reported as elsewhere, but a transition. As Scherer tells it, it’s a natural evolution for the gallery that arguably did more than any other to transform Red Bank into a regional hub for fine art and smart design.

In fact, it’s not at all out-there to suggest that, with its strong representation of pottery, glassware, jewelry and other three-dimensional media, Art Forms has had a tremendous influence upon the conceptually cutting-edge home shops and boutiques that dot the borough’s 21st century streetscape.

“Change is the one constant in life,” the pioneering proprietor explains. “Tried-and-true artists always change and evolve, after all, and it’s pretty exciting to be making this move… although I admit I’m a little scared of the change.”

At the end of the first week in January, Scherer will depart her longtime storefront at 16 Monmouth to devote her energies to the recently launched website. Visitors to the domain will view a collection that the curator maintains won’t be found anywhere else — prints, paintings, sculpture and crafts by the likes of Paul Bennett Hirsch, Jacquie Caldwell, George Tice and Marilyn Sica, each of whom has been (and will continue to be) promoted by Scherer in her role as an artist’s rep whose eye and instincts are held in high regard.

Lest we think this is anything resembling a retirement for Scherer, who’s been dividing her time between Monmouth County and Woodstock, NY, there’s an additional role to explore in the months to come: that of an artist in her own right.

“I’m now getting into painting full-force,” says the relative rookie, whose vigorous and vibrantly colorful abstracts share wall space in her own gallery. “I’ve always done it, but I’ve never given myself credence to do it until recently.”

Scherer, who based her business out of Marlboro prior to putting down stakes in Red Bank, insists that “I’ve had a great life here, and a lot of gratitude for Monmouth County. I’ve gotten a lot of support from people who realize that you don’t need to go to the city to be serious about art.”

The formula, as she sees it, for being successful in a notoriously unpredictable business?

“You need to be fearless,” she says with a slight shiver born not of apprehension but of the lingering chill in the air. “Originality is important — I’ve never played to the market — and integrity wins out.”

Things are up and running now at the website, with new content arriving soon. Under the supervision of Scherer and manager Emily Neiman, the brick-and-mortar Art Forms gallery is open for browsing and buying through January 5. featuring a multi-artisan holiday display of jewelry creations.

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