The art gallery system in America has been described as 70 percent male even though 70 percent of recipients of Masters of Fine Arts degrees are women. This imbalance might be enough to deter many women from trying to make their way into the art world. Not so, at Sanyok Gallery in San Francisco. To admire the gallery’s more than 300 piece collection culled over 15 years, it may not be apparent that Sanyok was the realization of two savvy women who willed it into existence from their creativity, passion and drive.

(Photo Courtesy of Jenny Belotserkovsky and owner Michal Tavrosky)

(Photo Courtesy of Jenny Belotserkovsky and owner Michal Tavrosky)

Director Jenny Belotserkovsky and Owner Michal Tavrosky launched Sanyok in 2008. “We were the first to feature and specialize in idealistic abstractionism and romantic avant-garde,” Belotserkovsky said. “The most important challenge was to be sincere, honest and uncompromising when creating our art without conforming to societal standards and to be successful in selling it.” But running the business involves more than artistic vision. Both women contribute artwork and day-to-day management of the gallery.

When asked what job functions they performed, the co-founders replied, “Artists, curators, dealers, marketers, event planners, shippers, wherehouse and inventory managers, handymen, receptionists, and accountants.” But, not all jobs are equal. Jenny and Michal emphasize their responsibilities for charity above all, followed by building community.

The long-term goal of the entrepreneurs is to be able to focus more on the process of creating art while maintaining vision, creative control, and strategic growth of the gallery to other locations worldwide. The process of realizating their vision and seeing its impact on the community and people around them is the most rewarding.

Everyone familiar with Sanyok understands the unique artistic, social and entrepreneurial work of Belotserkovsky and Tavrosky. “The first years of a business are not about profit but about self-realization and expression,” said Belotserkovsky, who has a degree in economics from UC Berkeley and worked as an analyst at Venture Crown Capital as well as Credit Suisse and BE Technologies. Tavrosky ran many ventures with her father. But ultimately it was a sense of self-expression and social responsibility that led them to co-found Sanyok.

Residing in the San Francisco Bay Area, Greg is a patented inventor, technology enthusiast and intrepid journalist. He finds inspiration in diverse experiences, organizations, people and places — from restaurants to politics, movies, music and, most of all, his daughter.

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