Pensacola, Florida
Friday December 19th 2014

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Staff Pick: Meet Your Newest Neighbor


By: Sarah McCartan

Situated in the Historic Old East Hill neighborhood, just a block south of Cervantes on Gadsden Street, is a character-filled pink house—one that is home to 512 Gallery. An expansive room of the home has been recently renovated to house this new art space. Separated from the living quarters and studio spaces that make up this home, the Gallery has its own private entrance making it an intimate, inclusive experience.

Building from the notion that “Everyone has to start somewhere,” 512 Gallery, which opened in September, is a vision of local printmaker and textile artist, Cleopatra Redbird Griffin.

A Bachelors of Fine Arts graduate from the University of West Florida, Griffin opened the space as a means of providing increased exposure for members of our budding art community.

“You’d be surprised at how many wonderful artists are hidden in this town,” she said. “I have had this dream of being able to give more exposure to the art community—the beautiful people that I am immersed in every day who haven’t had the opportunity. “

Although 512 Gallery began as a solo endeavor, Griffin teamed up with friend and fellow artist, Olivia Searcy, who has helped get the gallery up and running. Still the support doesn’t stop with Searcy. Together, the two have been met with equal enthusiasm and assistance from other artists.

“I have a wonderful little community of artists and art enthusiasts who have been helping me as 512 continues to grow,” said Griffin.

The Gallery has had two shows to date. October’s opening presented the work of local artist Austin Garcia. While the space is open to artists across all mediums, the aim is to keep it local.

“My whole intent is to showcase local artists, but I am willing to work with traveling artists who were originally from Pensacola and surrounding areas or went to school here,” explained Griffin.

The November opening will showcase the paintings of Tommy Ferrara. A UWF graduate, Ferrara has had his figure studies published in a variety of magazines and currently resides in the Tampa area.

For the month of December, rather than showcasing the work of a single artist, the gallery will be hosting a Holiday Fair. At this show and sale, a network of local artists, including Griffin, will be representing mediums including printmaking, textiles, paintings, ceramic work and handmade dolls. Along with introducing visitors to a variety of work, the event will double as a plentiful local, handmade holiday shopping opportunity.

Presently, 512 Gallery strictly opens its doors monthly during show and event times; however, in the new year, Griffin hopes to have set hours and be open on Sundays between each show.

“My utmost hope for 512 Gallery is for it to keep growing at this rapid rate, for it to be host to many different creators of all mediums, and for it to be known as this welcoming, comfortable, neighborhood art gallery where the artists, and visitors alike, feel at home,” said Griffin.

“I want it to allow such beautiful minds to come together under one roof of creativity and passion, and to share that with our ever growing, vibrant community as long as possible,” she added.

All shows are free and open to the public, as 512 Gallery will operate solely on sales and donations. If you are interested in booking a show at 512 Gallery, email a sample of your work to cleopatra.griffin@gmail.com.

512 GALLERY UPCOMING EVENTS

TOMMY FERRARA
WHEN: 12 – 6 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 24
WHERE: 512 Gallery, 512 E. Gadsden St.
COST: Free; donations accepted
DETAILS: Facebook.com/512Gallery or 261-0833

HOLIDAY FAIR
WHEN: 12 – 6 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15
WHERE: 512 Gallery, 512 E. Gadsden St.
COST: Free
DETAILS: Facebook.com/512Gallery or 261-0833