When it All Comes Together

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Since November 2013 I have been managing (voluntarily) a gallery in REO Town. For three years this space was operating under the name Art Alley. I was quite familiar with it as Art Alley and attended many events and meetings there. I even went to the curator of Art Alley to see if I could have my City Saunter photographs put up as an exhibit to celebrate completing this project. In September 2013, a month before my planned exhibit, Art Alley shut down. I won’t get into all the gossipy details but the main point was a community based event & gallery space no longer had anyone managing it. I was in a panic when I got the news. I was told to contact the landlord and since I had funds in place already I was able to rent the gallery space (the entire space, not just one wall like previously planned) for three weeks. I am not sure what was more exciting, that I could move forward with the exhibit, that I was finishing my three year walking project or that I was renting gallery space in a turn of the century building in REO Town. For three weeks I set up a mobile office at the gallery and invited pedestrians and social media contacts to stop in and check out the exhibit. For three weeks I sat in a fully functioning gallery and fell in love. I loved the roughened, painted advertisement wall that at one time was on an outside wall. I loved the large southern facing all window store front that glows bright with the setting sun. I enjoyed meeting the other tenants that resided in this building, all of whom I became fast friends with. I liked being in REO Town and seeing the burgeoning groups of business owners and employees walking passed my window. I soon realized that I wanted to stay and be a part of this progress. When my three weeks of renting was over I had planned to vacate the building but before I did I mentioned to the landlord how much I would like to attempt to do what Art Alley had tried to do before. I proposed a three part plan. The first would be the rental of gallery space. This was a given, since it was a gallery after all. The second was the venue space. Despite not having a bunch of extra things, many people I spoke with loved the space and enjoyed the idea of hosting parties there. My final idea was a photographer share. For the three weeks I was at the gallery I was able to offer studio photography sessions with my Ariniko Artistry business. This was a great opportunity for me as a photographer and I knew of quite a few other photographers that also were interested in a space that could be shared. I pitched the idea to the landlord and he agreed to let me continue on as the manager of the space. To stop the confusion about the name I decided to rename the space to AA Creative Corridor. It took me about a month to get organized and reach out to people but by December I was booking events including a wonderful Salsa Dancing group that come in every second and fourth Friday of the month. However, it was my most recent event held at the gallery that knocked my socks off. The event was the second Art & Craft Beer Fest. Paul Starr, the owner of I’m a Beer Hound had come to me back in November asking about using the gallery. Since I had just been put in place as the manager I didn’t really know what to do or what to expect. I gave him the go ahead without much more thought to it. In passing he mentioned I could leave my City Saunter photos up for the second day but that he was looking for something different for the Friday night event. This was a two day event with art being featured on both days. Paul wanted sculptures. It was my job to get him 8-12 sculptures. My first thought was David Such at Such Video. I knew he was an active member of The Scrapfest and Old Town and I thought he might know of some artists. With one communication David’s brother, nephew and friend was able to bring in close to 20 amazing pieces of art for the first night of the event.

aaccIMG_0225Gorgeous dark blue rose stem created by artist Dace 13

aaccIMG_0218Beautiful lake edge scene, crafted out of metal by Dace 13

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As we were loading all the pieces into the gallery, some as tall at 15 feet, I, for the first time, felt like a curator of a true gallery. I even at one point said, this looks like a real gallery to which David responded, “This is a real gallery”.  He really meant it. Wow. The next day I spent 3 hours helping move out welded art and hang over 30 City Saunter & Ariniko Artistry photographs plus 6 Miranda Hartmann drawings.

aaccIMG_0268Steely Flower by Dace 13

For those two days, this one event brought together Right Brain craft beer makers, the folks at REO Pub, at least six artists, four musicians and over 300 community members who came out to enjoy all that we were offering, including Meat. Southern B.B.Q. Lovers & Carnivore Cuisine, who fed us all.

aaccIMG_0285I’m A Beer Hound Merch Table

aaccIMG_0278Musicians Mark Warner & Garret Bielaniec 

I don’t know what’s coming up next for the gallery space, but I am looking forward to whatever adventure is around the corner. If you are looking for a venue or if you are an artist that wants to exhibit your work, or if you’re a photographer that needs some studio space for inside shoots, well, give me a holler, because I’m the manager of an art gallery, event venue and a photographer share and I can’t do anything without all of you.

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