he Red Piano Art Gallery has been the premier art gallery on Hilton Head Island for over four decades. It was established in July 1969 after the first Heritage Golf Classic.
Gallery founders Alan and Mary Palmer were avid collectors and jazz enthusiasts. Alan – a former illustrator for Coca Cola – played the saxophone, and the early years of the gallery featured works by Ralph Ballentine, Joe Bowler, Joe DeMers, Ray Ellis, Jim Palmer, Walter Palmer, George Plante and Coby Whitmore with champagne receptions around the famous “red piano”, a symbol of hot jazz. Sales during the early days of the gallery were sparse and the Palmers often referred to the business as the “piano in the red.”
Later, the gallery became a weekly meeting place for the historic Round Table, a group of prominent artists who brought in guest artists that included Ben Stahl, Reuben Tam and others. The gallery has also presented works by Andrew Wyeth and subsequent owners have embraced important 19th and 20th century American paintings for serious collectors from throughout the world.
Gallery owners since 1994, J. Ben Whiteside and Lyn Whiteside acquired Morris & Whiteside Galleries in January 2015 and combined gallery operations under the Red Piano Art Gallery firm with which they have been associated since 2002.