352 Commercial Street

Tao Water Art Gallery II

The prolific and long-active ceramist Paul Bellardo (b 1924) briefly had a gallery here, in 1961 and 1962, which he ran with Hal “Whitt” Whitsitt. Known as the Galleria di Bellardo, it offered original ceramics, gold, graphic arts, painting and sculpture. Bellardo had earlier been at 198 Commercial Street and moved from here to 404 Commercial Street. While at No. 352, he also opened a Galleria di Bellardo in Greenwich Village, at 486 Sixth Avenue.

Bellardo was followed quickly by Kurt Robert Ruckstuhl (±1923-2000) and Irma Ruckstuhl, who is best known today as the author of Old Provincetown in Early Photographs, one of the first in the large crop of contemporary books on Provincetown to examine its history in scholarly detail. They ran the Emporium gift shop at this location, and also the Candlemakers at 220 Commercial; the Old Village Store at 244 Commercial and the Corner Gift Shop at 250 Commercial.

Since 2007, it has been the Tao Water Art Gallery of contemporary Chinese and Asian art, run by the artists Dian Tong and her husband, Bao LeDe, who left China in 1989 after the Tiananmen Massacre. They opened their principal gallery, in West Barnstable, in 1999.




3 thoughts on “352 Commercial Street

  1. This property was sold by Elisha H. Tillson and Sophia C. F. Stark on 3/25/1884 to Murdock Kemp. The 1886 Provincetown Directory lists Mr. Tillson as a painter and Mr. Kemp (his name is misspelled as Kempt) as a fisherman. There is no listing for Stark, perhaps a sister. In 1909 Margaret Kemp was assigned the property by the Probate Court. In 1955 Frank Diego purchased it from the estate of Bessie A. Pierce and sold it in 1959 to Everett and Emma Durgin of West Dennis. Mr. and Mrs. Durgin operated Trotting Park Antiques in Dennis and at the suggestion of Walter Chrysler, a customer, opened a shop selling antique glass in the front part of the Provincetown building.

    Kurt and I bought it from the Durgins in 1962. We sold it to Larry Silberhorn and Gary Garberson in 1991, who moved from their location in one of the Mews shops, diagonally across the street, and continued to operate Silberhorn’s for about a decade. They also completely and very stylishly renovated the second floor apartment and resided there.

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