Pensacola, Florida
Saturday April 21st 2018


A Pop of Art

By Jennifer Leigh

When you can’t make it to the art exhibits, sometimes they come to you.

This weekend marks the opening of “Collect.”—the latest pop-up exhibition from Leader Art Consultants inside the former Dollarhides Music Center location on Palafox. The opening reception will coincide with Gallery Night this Friday, March 17. The collection was largely selected from pieces on consignment from artists, both emerging and established, across the Gulf Coast, said Alexis Leader, curator and principal of Leader Art Consultants (LAC).

“The artists and works for the ‘Collect.’ exhibition were selected to showcase the range and skill of artists within our area,” she explained. “Too often I run into new and established collectors who feel that they have to travel across the country to purchase quality, original artwork. While as a consultant I advise and source artwork nationally and, at times, internationally, I most enjoy matching client’s collection goals and budget with Gulf Coast artists when possible.”

Before she opened Leader Art Consultants last year, Leader was the Director of Curatorial Affairs at Pensacola Museum of Art and has more than 10 years of experience with museum administration according to her bio. Pop-up exhibitions are certainly different from exhibits you find in a museum or traditional gallery, but that is precisely why Leader likes them. This is her second pop-up since December 2016, when LAC launched.

“The idea of taking a non-traditional space and transforming it into a temporary gallery location is something that appealed to me,” she said. “The process of curating a temporary gallery is definitely unique from my former work in art museums where exhibits were planned years and many months in advance. Pop-ups, as the name implies, happen fast. The opportunity strikes for a prime location such as this amazing site, from our sponsor One Palafox Place, and we get to work immediately to put things into motion. The end product and the opportunity to connect artists to collectors is indescribable and incredibly rewarding.”

Artists featured in the exhibit include, Michael Boles, Karin Gudmundson, Joe Hobbs, David Lumpkin, Ursula Mahlar, Donna O’Neal, Kristen Regan, Pat Regan, Vivian Spencer, Steve Wagner and Kim Howes Zabbia. Purchasing artwork will not only support the regional artists in the show, but local arts programs at First City Art Center (FCAC) as a portion of the proceeds from the show will be donated to the non-profit. A temporary glass shop will be outside of the pop-up during the opening as well as live glass blowing demonstrations by artists, such Hobbs. Representatives from FCAC will also be on hand to share information about the organization.

The collaboration was an “easy choice,” Leader said.

“Having a working art center, such as FCAC, within our community is such an important dynamic to Pensacola,” Leader said. “The opportunity that it presents on a daily basis for artists, students and art enthusiasts alike is unmatched within our area. As a board member, the passion in raising awareness and donations for this cause was something I felt strongly about and was grateful for the occasion to combine forces.”

The title for the pop-up is “Collect.” which is a good word to describe the work LAC does. These short-term exhibits are just another way for art enthusiasts to discover and purchase original pieces.

“I believe in art being accessible,” Leader said. “It is one of the reasons I formed LAC. There are so many individuals and companies that feel starting a collection is out of reach to them due to lack of knowledge regarding the arts, budget or location. It’s simply not true. I enjoy working with clients to source artwork for them and provide guidance, in dealing one-on-one with their own private curator, to purchase confidently.”

Buying artwork can be daunting, Leader admits, which is another reason why the pop-up model is attractive to anyone in the market. Leader said she wants to provide a comfortable space to interact with art, artists and her to discover new pieces.
And for young buyers who are just starting to collect, the pop-up will be a good introduction to art acquisitions. Leader credits the young art buyers for currently “fueling the market,” she said.

“One suggestion, particularly for those not ready for a large investment purchase, is to discover student artwork from art and design programs within the area,” she added. “Seek out student exhibitions from local university art department’s or BFA exit shows. Investing in an emerging artist also creates a life-long relationship that you can follow as they continue to establish their career.”

“Collect.” is not about intimidation, but enjoyment. And the best part — you can purchase the art you fall in love with. That’s not always the case in some galleries.

“I spent the bulk of my career working in galleries where the art was unattainable,” Leader said. “There, if you were inspired by a piece you had to keep visiting the museum to see it again. I love the idea that with an LAC pop-up you can purchase the artwork right off the wall and take it home with you. Everyone should live with art.”

WHAT: A pop-up exhibit curated by Leader Art Consultants
WHEN: Opening reception will be 5:30-9 p.m. Friday, March 17; the exhibit will also be open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. daily March 18-25
WHERE: 43 S. Palafox