Inna Pankratova isn’t just an artist; the multitalented and savvy businesswoman is also the owner of the first stand-alone fine art gallery in southwest Riverside County.

Pankratova, who moved to the United States at the age of 18, was introduced to painting by her late mother-in-law Ekaterina Grigoreya, who was a world famous artist.

“She was living in Moscow at the time we met, and that’s when I started my arts venture, 20 years ago,” she said. “She not only encouraged me, she made me. She pushed me in every possible way. I truly value that she gave me that unique technique she developed that she told me has to stay in the family.”

Pankratova said she had a very successful career in the fashion industry and that she was proud to bring her new gallery, Art by Inna at 39825 Alta Murrieta Road, Suite B3, to Murrieta. The newest addition to Murrieta’s growing art scene is quickly turning into a must-see destination for residents and visitors alike.

“I used to have a gallery in Orange County close to the Nixon Library,” she said, adding that the gallery was only temporary. “This is my second one. I had some wonderful people who pointed me to the spot where I opened.”

Pankratova said Temecula Valley Wine Country reminds her of Tuscany. The shopping center where her gallery is located has undergone quite a few changes and continues to evolve as the owners turn the center into more of an “upscale art destination.”

“I like the area; it’s just gorgeous,” she said. “I just happened to like it, and it’s close to my home as well as being centrally located to Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties.”

Pankratova has sold more than 1,000 paintings worldwide, and her new gallery features 14 of her unique oil paintings in the main gallery as well as hand-painted glasses and bottles, with more paintings, both framed and unframed, in the facility’s large classroom. While some visitors opt to purchase original paintings, others order metal and canvas prints in a variety of sizes. Each comes with a certificate of authenticity.

The 3,400-square-foot gallery also features unique photography from Temecula’s Patrick Murphy and ceramic glass sculptures by Santee artist Yuriy Akopov. It will also offer classes with guest instructors for those looking to develop their own art skills.

“They are great artists. Yuriv is an amazing sculptor. I have one of his sculptures, and it is fantastic,” Pankratova said. “We are actually working on several projects together to create some spectacular art.

“We are featuring several photographers and fine artists,” she said. “Unique and original, that’s what I am looking for. That is my goal.”

Art by Inna will hold its grand opening, from 2-7 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 11, with live music, opportunities to talk with the artists and a tour of the gallery. Wine and other refreshments will be served and raffles featuring valuable artwork will be held.

Art by Inna is open Tuesday through Friday from 2-7 p.m. and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Appointments for private showings are available and can be made by calling (714) 588-3016. For more information on Art by Inna, visit www.artbyinna.com.

Peter Thorwarth contributed to this story.

Kim Harris can be reached by email at valleyeditor@reedermedia.com.