512 Gallery, a newly opened art space downtown on Gadsden Street, will be hosting its first opening show of the year on Sunday. The Spring Fair will feature new artwork by both fresh faces and returning artists. 512 founder Cleopatra Griffin took a few moments to tell us what expect at the event and for the future of the gallery.
IN: Tell me a little about how and why 512 started and how long it’s been up and running.
Griffin: It started as a dream of mine. I wanted a space that would encourage the younger artist community to get out there and show their work, a space that would be welcoming and comfortable to all. One of my main focuses was to escape the generic gallery setting. Throughout my travels, I’ve visited a lot of galleries and museums and I have found that the artwork is quite often overwhelmed by the immensity of the building and the sterile environment. With all of this buzzing around in my head, 512 opened up September of 2013 in a renovated room in one of East Hill’s historic homes.
IN: Does the gallery have a statement or a theme?
Griffin: We (the wonderful artists and art enthusiasts that have helped me this far) joke that our statement is “Let’s get weird, Pensacola,” and I think it’s stuck. You can expect that on T-shirts soon, along with the main theme that it’s your neighborhood gallery.
IN: Tell me a little about the Spring Fair that’s coming up- the idea behind it, how many participating artists, things to be expected, etc…
Griffin: The Spring Fair is the kickoff of the gallery’s new season, weekly hours, and a great year of events. There are nine participating artists with artwork ranging from stained glass, pottery, handmade dolls, vegan baked goods, mixed media pieces, and comics by yours truly. The gallery hours are noon to 6 p.m. every Sunday starting March 16.
IN: I noticed on the event’s Facebook page you mentioned “good conversation and weirdos.” Would you elaborate more on this?
Griffin: [Laughs] Well, it’s not your typical gallery setting, and I welcome all walks of life. Gathering so many artists under one roof is bound to be interesting and spark unique conversations, and if you’re an artist and don’t consider yourself a weirdo…well, I’d be concerned.
IN: What kind of events would you like to host in the future?
Griffin: I am currently in the process of putting together the April show, a darker take on a Pagan Easter which celebrates a goddess of purity, youth, and new life beginnings. “Eostre” is going to have visual art along with a performance piece and live music. So as far as events of the future go, I am open to all mediums and want to incorporate every type of art form possible.
IN: What direction would you like the future of 512 to head in?
Griffin: Ideally, to continue growing and being a hub for the local art community. Eventually I would love 512 to host various workshops, and art seminars for kids, but for now we are doing what we can to join in events around town.
IN: When there isn’t an event, what can one expect to see at 512?
Griffin: Well, it’s a home and studio spaces too, so one can expect to see the flow of artists living and working around each other. The work from each opening will be on display for roughly a month, if you miss the first show you can stop by any Sunday from 12 to 6 p.m. and check it out.
IN: Can anyone display their work there or do you have to be a member? And are there any open calls coming up for specific types of work/themes/or shows you’d like to feature?
Griffin: Anyone local can certainly display their work at 512. I ask for images of work along with a short bio to be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. I would be open to a couple more artists for the Eostre show on April 13, and have an open call for May through the end of the season. Email me—I am always inviting new artists.
512 Gallery Spring Fair
WHERE: 512 E. Gadsden St.
WHEN: Sunday, March 16
TIME: 12—6 p.m.