HAMILTON - You won’t find much room on the walls of Ray Ramsey’s gallery for even one more painting or drawing.
“Don’t have any place to put them. But that keeps you in line. Otherwise I’d be buying every building on the square filling it with art,” says Ramsey, a native of Carmel California.
The Ramsey Collection includes more than 500 17th-20th century artworks and can be seen by appointment only in downtown Hamilton. From Picasso to Vincent Van Gogh, the gallery is full of some of the most original works in the world. Ramsey says visitors are usually stunned.
“It’s usually disbelief. They say ‘You must have a great artist who can copy these works’ and I say no these are original by the artist and they say ‘What are they doing here?” says Ramsey.
The former Ferrari dealer and California native moved to Hamilton with his wife 9 years ago. He says the small town charm of Hamilton reminds him of an east coast village and seemed like a perfect place for his incredible collection.
“My wife who raised her children here was naturally familiar with the area and I fell in love with it so when the building came up, we came here,” says Ramsey.
The flare for art isn’t limited to just Ramsey’s Collection. Across the square you will find Bill Chappell’s Cowboy Art Collection. Chappell spent his life creating artworks from bronze and leather along with painting some of the most recognizable western scenes. While Chappell passed away in 2010, his artwork still draws visitors to the court square.
Just a few doors down, Christina Rudolph and a few business partners have created a special place for the arts as well at Studio on the Square.
“It started with a few of us coming together and realizing we all have talents in this town and we really wanted to have a place to really shine,” says Rudolph. “We offer everything from art classes, dance classes, tumbling classes and then we also have a boutique.”
From a downtown museum to a wine gallery on the outskirts of town, Kim Hinton with the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce says this small town has a lot to offer.
“These people live here and it’s what they have to offer and they want to be proud of what they offer,” says Hinton. “This is what a hometown should be. This is where you want to bring your children and raise your children and hope that when your children go off and come back, this is where they want to bring their family.”