Lara Moloy admits that when she moved from Castleton to Burlington in 2005, her employment history didn’t have any specific arc. She saw an ad for a job at the Furchgott Sourdiffe Gallery in Shelburne and thought the position seemed perfect, since it combined a love of art and design with attention to detail and hand skills. She visited the gallery and found owners Brad Sourdiffe and Joan Furchgott on the premises.
“Everyone knew right away it was the right fit,” she said.
After a more formal interview, Moloy was hired. Her initial work involved frame fitting and customer service, but she eventually got involved in other areas like gallery assistance, website updates, photography, inventory, ordering, and bookkeeping.
“My life experience has taught me that the more capable and willing one is, the more tasks one acquires,” she said, adding that the variety of jobs is what makes working for a small business interesting.
On Jan. 2, Sourdiffe and Furchgott turned over the reins of the gallery they have run for almost three decades to Moloy and her partner Nico Sardet.
“It feels like a natural progression,” Moloy said. “It can be overwhelming because there are so many aspects and a small business owner has so much responsibility but I’ve learned so much from Joan and Brad that I feel well-equipped for it.” Moloy is pleased the couple will continue to work with her for some time and have no plans to leave the area.
With Sardet joining her in ownership, Moloy feels as though they are following Sourdiffe and Furchgott’s life plan, as well as their business plan.
Moloy, a 37-year-old resident of North Ferrisburgh, admits she considered changing the gallery’s name. “Furchgott Sourdiffe is quite a mouthful,” she said, “and telling it to customers can be a little intimidating but once you know the name, it sticks and they have a very strong reputation with artists and customers.”
Both Sourdiffe and Furchgott are artists but they never showed their work at the gallery. For that reason, Moloy will also not be displaying the work of Sardet who is an artist and photographer. “We show 40 to 45 different artists,” Moloy said. “We’ll bring in new artwork but we want to focus on the artists we represent. It’s not about us.”
For Moloy, framing is a way to balance technical and physical work with design and beauty. She revels in the fact that the work is always different. One memorable assignment had her mounting the wings and tail of a hawk that had been hit by a car. One of the things she enjoys about framing is that customers are bringing in something that is meaningful to them. “It might be an expensive piece of art or a family heirloom,” she said. “You get to learn something about the customer and share an intimate moment with them. It’s very meaningful work and I enjoy that.”
In keeping with the change of ownership, the new exhibit at the gallery is called Transitions. Featuring a lot of abstract work, the show consists of 17 artists who work mostly in oils and acrylics but there are also two glass artists. Although Moloy has some personal favorites among the gallery’s artists, she recognizes that people have different tastes.
“I want to see some intrinsic quality,” she said. “If you have that, you’ll reach someone, even if it’s not working for everyone. It’s nice to have stylistic differences.”