by Kathy Corey
Today, B Extraordinaire reached out to local St. Louis artist, Allie Gant after hearing about the opening of her family’s new venture, the Gallery Pub located on Thurman in the "Historic Shaw Neighborhood." In this interview, she shares her inspiration and ideas, and the opportunity that sparked the unique concept for the Gallery Pub. The dream is now real, and the Gallery Pub opens on March 8 and presents its first exhibition.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background in art?
I’m a multimedia artist with a BFA in Ceramics and printmaking. I currently work mainly in ceramics, along with curating art for the Kirkwood Performing Arts Center and the Gallery Pub on Thurman.
What inspires you?
Other artists!!! Ever since I began curating, I have found an exceptional amount of joy in supporting artists other than myself and paying forward all of the trust and encouragement I’ve received myself. It’s an incredible feeling being given an opportunity because someone sees your worth, so I’m trying my best to now do that for others.
How did you come up with the business concept?
My mother is an art therapist and I’ve been an artist since I was very young. We always knew we wanted our bar to be community-based, and most of our decisions while molding it will reflect that. We’ve kept the incredible bartenders that had worked there when it was Thurman’s, we hired our head chef because we truly love his energy and the creativity he shows through his cooking, and we redesigned the interior to make it a brighter, more welcoming place for our guests to bring their friends and family to. We really aren’t making decisions based on US. They’re about our incredible staff and our community and now our artists too. My mom and I decided we would be missing out on supporting a large part of the community if we didn’t execute our wall space as a gallery, and we aim to display all different kinds of art from artists Who might not be as well known. I believe St. Louis does a really great job in supporting our very well known artists, and there aren’t many places to discover and appreciate new or less known ones. It’s our goal to do so.
What has been the most challenging part of getting the new business started so far?
Haha, the liquor license. Truly it’s been like pulling teeth. Everything else has been surprisingly ~fine~ to get through. The community around us has helped immensely in many different ways, and their support and feedback has really helped us find a grounding here in Shaw and propelled us to make this a place where everyone wants to be.
How do you select artists for the venue?
I’ve put out an artist call requesting email submissions of 5 images, a small bio, and an artist statement. For this first exhibit, I selected artists based on a theme “st louis x traditions,” and the art on display right now reflects the area in which our business resides plus old traditions that we will continue from what Thurman’s used to be. They used to have live music- lots of jazz- so one of our artists was selected based on his incredible jazzy music-themed art.
Who are the artists for the first exhibit?
Byron Rogers, Robin Leibovich, and Michael LaRue, Candace Hyams also has a piece at the Gal which will be our only permanent piece on display, “Jack Rabbit.”
What advice can you give to aspiring artists in your community?
Believe in yourself and others will believe in you! Don’t be afraid to allow your art to reflect who you are as a person, as it will be your biggest strength, especially when defending your art or even just talking to others about it. Let it show your confidence, and don’t give yourself too many boundaries. There is no right or wrong with art
What is the best way to reach you to be considered for an upcoming exhibit?
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for submissions, comments, and questions :)
Here is a sneak peek inside the Gallery Pub and the art exhibit.
Welcome to B Extraordinaire Gallery, A Place for Artists to Share and Sell Art.