Brother's memory honored with gallery in Aqua restaurant

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Brother's memory honored with gallery in Aqua restaurant

By JUSTIN PAPROCKI jpaprocki@islandpacket.com<br>843-706-8143
Published Thursday, April 5, 2007 in The Island Packet  |  441 Words  |  /IslandPacket/features

Aqua Grille and Lounge has lived on despite the death of its founder, Jeff Katon, last year. And now his memory will live on through the arts.'
Aqua Grille and Lounge on North Forest Beach Drive opens a nonprofit art gallery tonight with the beach scenes of local artist Candace Whittemore Lovely. '
A reception featuring a sampling of the restaurant's menu starts at 6 p.m.'
The gallery is dedicated to the memory of Jeff Katon, who died last August in a car accident in Palmetto Dunes. His brother Chris Katon, who helped start the restaurant, is continuing to manage the restaurant with his brother Mark.'
Artists will be rotated every three months in the gallery, bookended by an opening and closing reception and possible lectures in between. The art also will be for sale.'
The gallery also will serve as a banquet room for the restaurant, hosting weddings and other large functions. But it will be open to the public during the day for general viewing. '
"With Jeff's passing, we just wanted to do something nice for the community," Chris Katon said. "He loved it here. This was his home."'
Jeff Katon wasn't an artist. His passions were golf, Red Sox baseball and Hilton Head. He had grown to love the island's warm weather, abundant golf courses and friendly people. The family originally is from the Boston area, but Jeff Katon came to Hilton Head to manage Charley's Crab. '
He started Aqua with Chris Katon about a year ago after the brothers had gutted and refurbished the interior of the space formerly occupied by the Captain's Table restaurant. '
The idea for the gallery came during a discussion between Chris Katon and Art Segal, an advocate of the arts on the island. Chris had been looking for a way to memorialize his brother, and the banquet room was unused at the time -- part of Jeff Katon's future plans for the restaurant. Chris sped up plans to open the banquet room and decided to add an extra touch in honor of his brother, while Segal helped to find artists to show their work there. '
The island will benefit from the new gallery because it serves as another outlet to view art on the island -- all without cost to either artist or patron, Segal said. Aqua isn't taking a commission or charging artists to display and sell their work there."There's a lot of ways to bring art to the people" he said, "without the expenses of the traditional ways."