In a 4,500-square foot St. Claude Avenue warehouse that was once an auto body shop, the team from the Frenchmen Art Market has been hanging chandeliers and screwing in lightbulbs until after midnight.
They’re preparing the Art Garage, an offshoot of the popular art venue, and no detail to spruce up the industrial space is too small.
“As far as the decor, [Frenchmen Art Market founder Kate Gaar] feels like, if you wrap anything in lights it can be beautiful,” Alicia Conforto, who handles marketing for the group, says. “There’s going to be a ton of lights as well as the funky little seating areas that we normally have.”
Conforto says the new venue will be much more than the Frenchmen space, which continues to operate as a traditional art market. Although the Art Garage has a retail area where local artists can show and sell their work, the focus will be on gallery space and art happenings. The first of these will take place when the venue opens to the public at 8 p.m. on Friday, April 22. That night, Foundation Gallery curator and artist Alice McGillicuddy will take part in a live art installation that she calls “art boxing.”
McGillicuddy will wrap herself in bubble wrap that she’s injected with paint and “box” with another artist in a boxing ring lined with canvas. The paint splatters from the bout will create an original work.
The spring schedule for the venue is still in flux, but patrons can expect to see these types of events regularly. Its members are looking forward to being part of the burgeoning St. Claude arts district.
“[Kate] just sees the potential over here, and so she’s been keeping her eye out for a space for several months now. We kind of jumped when she found this,” Conforto says.