Tony Segale, Lodi’s best-known sign painter, opens Downtown art gallery

An inside view of Double Dip Gallery on Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014. The gallery features work by local artists, including owner Tony Segale, and Gunther’s ice cream.

Lodi artist Tony Segale has announced plans to sell or close his Double Dip Gallery. If no potential new owner reaches out, the gallery will close by Aug. 25, he said.

“This has been in consideration for the last two years,” Segale said. “I need to free my schedule to get back in the studio, to my passion of creating commercial and fine art.”

Segale opened the Lodi art gallery and ice cream parlor at 222 W. Pine St. in January 2014. The gallery features two 49-foot walls to display art — Segale’s own work, as well as dozens of other Lodi-area artists — and sells more than a dozen flavors Gunther’s Ice Cream from the popular Sacramento creamery.

Segale came up with the idea for the combination shop while running his former art gallery in Walnut Grove. Shoppers from the nearby Mel’s Mocha & Ice Cream would wander by with cones, peering into the gallery’s windows but afraid to enter.

“Why should they avoid the gallery if they have ice cream?” Segale told the News-Sentinel in 2014. “If they can’t eat it, I can’t eat it.”

So when he and his wife Danine opened their gallery in Lodi, they included an ice cream counter. Before the pandemic, visitors to the shop frequently bought a cone or shake and enjoyed their sweet treats while admiring the artwork.

Double Dip Gallery has become a frequent stop to Lodi visitors who take the self-guided Walldog Mural Tour, as well.

“It’s kind of a bittersweet thing,” Segale said, adding that he has loved connecting with his customers over the years. “But I really feel that I need to follow my passion.”

In recent years, though, Segale has felt the need to choose: Pour his energy and passion into his art, or into running the gallery and ice cream shop. In the end, his art won out.

“That’s where I’m supposed to be,” he said.

Segale has plenty of ideas for new pieces — especially since he hasn’t had time to focus on his watercolor painting since March.

“I’m behind on my fine art, and I do have some commercial projects looming,” he said.

He’s also working on ideas for how to restart his classes amid the pandemic.

If new owners can be found to take over the gallery — and there has been one inquiry so far, he said — Segale would be interested in continuing to display his work and teach art classes.

“If a new owner becomes available, I’ll be here to train for a smooth transition of the unique combination,” he said.

If no potential new owners step forward, Segale plans to close up shop by Aug. 25. Wooden Dollars — the gallery’s unique take on gift certificates — should be redeemed as soon as possible.

Visitors can buy ice cream at the shop from 3 to 7 p.m. Thursday through Monday. For more information, call Segale at 209-365-3344 or email tony@tonysegale.com.

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