Photo courtesy of Taylor Mertz
Salt Hill Gallery is located in the new RDO Tower, right off Broadway Square. The beautiful space is filled with light, bringing the store and all that’s inside it to life!
This magazine is all about noteworthy happenings. We tell the stories of those individuals and businesses making the FM area what it is, a busy and evolving region full of entrepreneurs, creatives and doers. When Taylor Mertz founded and opened Salt Hill Gallery, she also introduced a new concept to the area: wearable art.
Taylor Mertz, Owner & Founder of Salt Hill Gallery
Everything about the gallery screams new, modern, stylish and chic—even the location. The storefront is located in a ground-level space in the new RDO Tower, looking out to Broadway Square and one of the busiest intersections downtown. With huge, wide windows covering most of the front-facing walls, natural light pours into the gallery from mid-morning through the early afternoon during the winter months and a majority of the day during the warmer seasons.
This light fills the mid-size room, glistening off the glass bottles of fine fragrance and other apothecaries in the east end of the room, illuminating the velvet and wood furnishing centering the store, shining into the crystal clear cases lining the west wall and reflecting more sparkle throughout the room from the chains, bands, hooks and gems decorating the inside of the jewelry cases.
The store gives off an ethereal energy, a glow surrounding and engulfing those inside. The bright, warm and serene feeling that the interior evokes almost makes it feel as if time slows as you move to explore what exactly this curated collection has to offer.
Sound like something you’d like to experience?
Salt Hill Gallery hosts private and group showings in the gallery for birthdays, anniversaries and other special occasions to find the perfect pieces for your collection. Relax in the serene space, sip while you skim the art, try on the pieces that pique your interest and indulge in your surroundings.
To schedule a showing, head to salthillgallery.com/ private-showings
Before the dream-like space opened its doors to begin business, it was just that—a dream.
Taylor Mertz moved to Fargo about four years ago. After having her fourth child, Taylor’s schedule was adjusted to allow her more time at home. Change also inspired her motivation to devote more time to her creative endeavors. Her personal interest in art and jewelry is what would eventually birth the concept for Salt Hill Gallery.
“I began working on Salt Hill Gallery approximately two years ago, first building relationships with the artists we represent and planning for collections. We launched an online preview sale as a test. I then participated in business planning with Paul Smith at the ND Small Business Development Center and with Emerging Prairie’s Women’s Entrepreneurship Cohort,” she said. “Both guided me in conducting market research, developing a business and financial plan, and implementing a strategy. We opened our doors to the public in September 2022 and are rapidly expanding our collections.”
When hearing the words collection and gallery, one might think that Salt Hill Gallery is predominantly an art gallery; while it’s true to say that it showcases art within its walls, Salt Hill Gallery is essentially a jewelry store. They display and sell a variety of different jewelry collections from different artists, as well as collected vintage pieces.
Taylor carefully chose what artists she wanted to work with to build her jewelry collection.
“The artists we work with are incredibly talented, and we feel we best represent their work by offering a collection that showcases the breadth of their talent. By working with a core group of artists, we can show the collection well, and we can continue to support their creative process and grow with their evolving work,” she said.
“Nothing here is too precious to wear—that is what it is made for, after all. Come in, admire it, touch it, try it on and perhaps go home with something beautiful!”
– Taylor Mertz
The artists featured in the store come from all over. They feature regional artists from Minneapolis, such as Betty Jäger and Emily C. Johnson, and more from across the country, as well as a few from the U.K. and Paris.
New jewelry is added to the store’s display cases weekly, whether they are new acquisitions to the vintage and antique collection or new work from those existing artists.
Taylor revealed that they plan to open collections from some notable new artists in the upcoming weeks and months, and those will be featured online at salthillgallery.com You can follow and look out for new releases on the gallery’s Instagram, @salthillgallery where they typically announce those!
Taylor’s love for both art and jewelry merge seamlessly with the concept of Salt Hill Gallery, offering the community a taste of experiencing the beautiful and unique pieces in both an admiring manner but also in a way that they can touch, feel and even try on the pieces if they’d like—a bonus if they decide to take them home and add them to their personal collection.
Salt Hill Gallery is, at its essence, a jewelry store. That said, I do consider jewelry to be art you wear—tiny sculptures that move with you throughout your day. Because the collections are best experienced when thoughtfully displayed, and in a manner that highlights the materials and skills that make up each piece, we have chosen to exhibit the collections in a gallery-like setting. Hence, Salt Hill is both a showroom and retail space. It’s a jewelry store that exhibits jewelry as a collection of artwork made by artists.”
– Taylor Mertz
With a gallery where intent is so apparent, down to the natural lighting inside, it’s no surprise that Taylor tends to attach a lot of sentiment to handmade works of art and jewelry and hopes to see that emotion rise in those who visit the gallery.
“A jewelry designer I admire, Marla Aaron, says that jewelry has one purpose—to make people happy. I love that thought and agree to an extent, but more than that, I connect with the symbolism in jewelry—important life moments marked by jewelry, or experiences or relationships, symbolized in the imagery depicted,” Taylor explained. “I want the pieces from Salt Hill Gallery to evoke emotion when worn. Beyond that, it’s a lovely form of self-expression. When I describe the collection as ‘art as adornment,’ I am referencing these tiny sculptures that move with you throughout your day.”
While Salt Hill Gallery notes its variety of fine, modern and unique jewelry and highly-curated selection of estate/ vintage/antique jewelry, it also displays and is proud to offer its selection of engagement and wedding rings! With different sizes, shapes, colors and details, the gallery just may have your special someone’s dream piece.
Having opened just last fall, Salt Hill Gallery has been showcasing its jewels for just over five months, and they are no stranger to the local welcome that new businesses often receive, as well as support from far. “
“We are grateful to have enjoyed excellent support from the local community and our social networks. That support thankfully continues, and we have experienced a rapidly expanding customer base from across the country, thanks in large part to interest in the specific artists we carry. Because their jewelry is unique and sought-after, new releases tend to sell quickly on Instagram and our website,” Taylor said.
Closing Thoughts from the Editor
What sets Salt Hill Gallery apart isn’t just the concept, it’s that the entirety of the brand is especially creative. ‘Wearable art’ isn’t an outrageous idea, but when you consider the store name including the word ‘gallery,’ Taylor working closely with artists to build and release new inventory in ‘collections,’ and opening up the store’s audience to virtually anyone through their online store—it creates a predefined emotion and awareness surrounding the store for its visitors. And then they visit Salt Hill Gallery to be greeted with a reality that fuses their conception of the store with the dream-like essence inside.
211 Broadway N, Fargo ND
Tuesday – Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.