DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – Southwest Gallery is tucked away in a warehouse district, inside a modest building. But step into the 16,000 square foot gallery, and it’s easy to see why it’s not only one of the largest, but also one of the oldest galleries in North Texas. Last weekend, it celebrated 45 years of business.

“We brought in 30 best selling artists. About 20 of them are painting or sculpting, and it’s to celebrate all of these great years in business and all of the great years we have had,” says owner Bob Malenfant.

He adds that Southwest Gallery’s size has helped them stay the course during this economic downturn.

“By us being as large as we are and having the cross section of art that we have,” says Malenfant. “We’ve been able to sustain the hard times and enjoy the good times.”

Meeting the artists helps you feel their passion.

One of the gallery’s featured artists, Xiang Zhang from Plano, recalls how his inspiration for western art came as a young boy in China.

“Everyday when I walk(ed) from home to elementary school, I would walk on a country road, and I always saw farmers and horses. So, I would do lots of quick drawings of horses. I was also born in the year of horse.”

Sculptor Martin Eichinger flew in from Oregon for the celebration. He’s been with the gallery for 10 years.

“This is about us being balanced precariously. Whether it’s our economy or whatever were are all feeling a little off balance. So this is about keeping your balance and keeping your exuberance despite the fact that it’s difficult.”

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