In December, 2010, former Redskins tight end and Leesburg resident Chris Cooley opened an art gallery in historic Leesburg to fuel his other passion -- pottery. Now, the gallery is one of the town's most eclectic artistic hot spots. The Cooley Gallery supplants the pastoral landscapes and still lifes that are ubiquitous in many of the town's other galleries. There are stately, gnarled wood tables, handcrafted jewelry and ceramics by a cadre of regional artists and artisans. Then there's Cooley's own work. Some of his pieces are marked with his Redskins number, 47, or black lines and Xs that almost resemble a play diagram. Other pieces rely more on rugged texture and color gradations. It's an edgier aesthetic that seems to say: This is not your mother's art gallery.
At one of Leesburg's recent "First Friday" events, the gallery stayed open late, featuring bluegrass music and wine and chocolate tastings. Cooley milled around, signing autographs for kids while their parents perused the art. The Cooley Gallery is certainly popular, especially when its owner is present. But its contents will not disappoint either.
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