December 13, 2016

USD alumnae open photo gallery in Liberty Station 
Published - 09/14/16 - 04:05 PM | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Michele Ballantyne and Kelsey Nordal have opened MK Envision Galleries. 
Kelsey Nordal and Obecian Michelle Ballantyne have taken an unconventional path to becoming co-owners of a new Liberty Station photography studio, which has taken them from the pet business to the art world.

Both University of San Diego alumnae, the pair have teamed to create MK Envision Galleries, the latest art gallery to be opened in the growing arts district of Liberty Station. The 1,700-square-foot ground-floor gallery space is in an old barracks building at the former Point Loma Naval Training Center.

Ocean Beach resident Ballantyne noted that she and Nordal, friends from the start, knew they wanted to own their own business. It just took them both awhile to figure out what kind of business exactly they wanted to have.

“Originally we were interested, and worked in, the natural pet food industry,” Ballantyne said, noting she and Nordal are both “health conscious and wanted to teach people to think in terms of health for their pets.”

But the pet industry wasn't quite what they wanted, especially not after it was suggested that a photo art gallery might be a better alternative.

But the business duo determined they wanted to open a special type of art gallery.

“Ours is fine art photography — landscape only,” noted Nordal.

MK Envision Galleries' tagline is “capturing the wonders of nature and life.” The photography they're going to be displaying is carefully selected to represent what they stand for: Bringing nature indoors.

“We believe capturing the wonder and beauty of nature and hanging it on our walls can infuse inspiration into our everyday lives and decisions,” said Ballantyne.

Noting they're putting the finishing touches on their new gallery space, which will open in early October, Nordal noted their inaugural art display will feature the work of Midwest photographer John Scanlon.

“We are very keen on showing the work of local artists as well, whose subject matter is San Diego,” said Nordal.

Both aspiring photographers themselves, Ballantyne noted, “It's a passion of ours.”

But why landscape photography?

“It's universally appealing to people of any age from any walk of life,” answered Ballantyne adding its inspiring to “focus on the world around us.”

Nordal praised Liberty Station's Art District pointing out locating their new photographic art gallery there “is by far the best decision we've ever made. It's a community of artists and galleries, like-minded people who've welcomed us and our art-centric business with open arms.”

Arts District Liberty Station is San Diego's largest arts and cultural district located in historical buildings at the former Naval Training Center. With 100 park-like acres, the Arts District is home to nearly 120 museums and galleries, artist studios, dance companies, educational groups, multidisciplinary arts, fine dining, creative retail and other organizations showcasing San Diego's creative community.

A grand opening for MK Envision Galleries will take place 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 7 at 2710 Historic Decatur Road, Barracks 17.

For more information, visit,, or call 619-516-8186.

Read more:  San Diego Community News Group - USD students open photo gallery in Liberty Station