A new mini art gallery in town is celebrating its opening by inviting everyone to come by, meet the artist/owner and peruse her work.

Artist/owner Rebecca Hart says art is her passion and she has actually been an artist all of her life.

Hart has lived in South Walton for 30 years, where she is surrounded by fellow artists. But she began taking her passion more seriously in the past 10 years. She started working with the local group of plein air painters and accumulated a large body of work.

"I decided it was time to show what I have done and sell some of it to make room for more," she said, in explaining her decision to open a gallery.

Her gallery, Promenade on the Bayou, is located at 1581 Mack Bayou next door to her home. Hart paints in oil and said she is inspired by beautiful scenery here as well as other places she sees in her travels, such as Alaska and Germany.

"Diversity is my inspiration and landscapes," she said. "There is a moment in time when as an artist I come across an unfamiliar scene or a familiar one observed in a different light, which tugs at my heartstrings. Once this happens it becomes part of my interior landscape and compels me to capture the moment the light, the color, the shape and the form until I possess it or it possesses me. To interpret the essence of a place and its culture, and to be open to influences beyond my control this is what drives me as an artist."

Since her gallery is small, Promenade will only showcase Hart's work early on, but as wall space becomes available, she hopes to invite other artists to show their work also.

"We might even alternate on a monthly basis and show different works," she said.

Artwork representative of Hart's travels in Europe, Alaska, South America, Africa, and Walton County will be on display and for sale during an open house at Promenade on the Bayou, a Little Gallery on Mack Bayou. Following a grand opening on Dec. 7, the gallery will be open Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Hart is available at other days and times also. For more information email Hart at dier2hart@yahoo.com or call 598-6501.