A staple of Bloomington’s restaurant scene since it opened in 1980, The Village Deli began displaying art in July 2011 with a show called “The Village Special,” a hanging of photography by former Village Deli employee Michael McMullen.

The restaurant selects its artists through a review of work that includes owner Bob Costello and manager Liz Sanders. “We look for work that’s bright and cheerful,” says Sanders, “since this is a restaurant where we want people to have a good time.”

Student artists, trained artists, and self-taught artists are all welcome to apply for showings at The Village Deli, says Sanders, and the gallery does not favor one particular style or medium over another. Shows will last one to two months and sales are handled by the artist.

Through August, patrons of The Village Deli saw McMullen’s photography on display. McMullen was a Bloomington native who committed suicide in 2010. Since his death, his parents Rick and Mary have been showing his work to raise awareness about the need for better integrated psychological services and to raise money for the Michael McMullen Photography Fund set up in remembrance of their son.

The Village Deli and its gallery are open Monday to Friday from 7 am to 8 pm, Saturday and Sunday from 8 am to 8 pm. McMullen’s work can also be viewed at For artists interested in being showcased at the gallery, contact Liz Sanders at [email protected].