Circuit 12 Contemporary keeps it fresh. That could be their motto. Since opening the doors in 2012, owners Gina and Dustin Orlando have experimented with the standard gallery motto, challenging tastes, adding fashion elements and throwing bombass parties. This weekend, the gallery moves off Dragon Street onto Levee Street, adding a gift shop called Primer that will be comparable to what you would expect to find at a museum.
“At the last space we were limited on square footage,” says Dustin Orlando. But the plan has always been to have a platform for in-house publications, to have catalogs, prints and other merchandise in conjunction with exhibits. At the old space, Primer could have maybe been set up somewhere in the back, but that was never the concept. It was always meant to be a fully realized art shop, separate from the gallery. When Gina and Dustin Orlando found the new space, they immediately noticed that it was ideal for two separate entities, allowing for the extension of a retail space.
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With in-house publishing, Primer will offer limited edition art books to accompany exhibits, as well as curated goods. The shop will also offer a section geared towards children, with interactive workshops planned. When Primer opens on Saturday, expect to find it full of books by publishers like Phaidon, Printed Matter and Textfield — stuff you would typically find only in a museum gift shop or a large bookstore.
The idea is to put something in Circuit 12 that everyone can support. Not everyone can afford to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on artwork. But a modestly priced, limited edition, signed art book to accompany an exhibit is a great souvenir for many to bring home from the gallery. And as a stand-alone design concept store, Primer can simply be a great place to find a unique gift. With local artisans in mind, everything in the shop is carefully curated and selected, with Dan & Joseph serving as creative directors.
“We just want to make sure that we are able to extend what we are doing with the gallery to the whole community,” says Dustin Orlando. “We’re about to open the floodgates for anyone who has any kind of job.” Primer may be something unique to the Design District and perhaps Dallas in general. But for Gina and Dustin Orlando this is just something they are passionate about, had planned from the beginning, and that was finally made possible with the relocation.
The opening reception for the summer group show, as well as the launch of Primer, will be held from 6- 10 p.m. Saturday.