Bishop Arts District's Newest Gallery Was Inspired by a Margarita, Sort of

Come November, Oak Cliff's Bishop Arts District will be welcoming its newest member, the EXHIBIT3 Art Gallery. The grand opening on November 2 will present art centered on Day of the Dead themes to coincide with the neighborhood's celebrations.

The gallery's owner Art Spigel, a Dallas-native, says he's hoping to feature up-and-coming and new artists alongside his own photography.

Spigel specializes in panoramic photography, largely focusing on environmental shots. He still works a day job as an IT consultant, but his career has allowed him to travel across the globe, including South America and Europe. In exploring these places, he always took time to stray from his work to find pleasing aesthetics in nature.

"I just like getting lost," Spigel says. "I think we have so many beautiful things in this country and it's just endless. Sometimes it's hard to choose where I want to go next."

He found a particular affinity for panoramic shots in these scenes of nature, where he was surrounded by a myriad of vibrant colors in forests and vast canyons in Arizona. The use of wider shots, he says, allows him to share the full range of vision he sees while he's shooting.

Like many great ideas, Spigel found motivation to open a gallery while having a drink -- he recalls a margarita, specifically. He was with the owners of the Padilla Gallery when they mentioned that a space in Bishop Arts across the street from the Kessler Theater had become available. This was the nudge Spigel needed to pursue the space.

"I just thought, 'Why not take this chance?'" he says. "I've always loved photography, and I truly believe that if you're going to take a chance on something, it's got to be something you love."

Although Spigel is primarily a photographer, the gallery will welcome all mediums, including painting and potentially sculptures. Spigel also hopes to collaborate with other galleries to organize a walking tour in the area. He admits he's somewhat making it up as he goes along, but his goal for the gallery is solidly defined.

"I'm kind of winging this thing, and I'll see what happens," he says. "Mainly, I want to work with the community and bring in art that people want."

Four or five years ago, Spigel would've never imagined he'd be opening his own gallery. Back then, he was trying to sell his art online, which felt disconnected from the personal interaction that could be had between the artist and the viewer.

"When you go to a show, the artist is there and you can find out what the artist was going through and how they created this beautiful work," he says. "I feel like everything has been leading up to doing this."

Spigel plans to rotate the displays every three months and introduce different themes to the gallery. He makes sure to note that the gallery isn't self-serving, either -- he says he will gladly withhold his own work to make room for the work of others. To add a social element to the space, he plans to have happy hour specials and hors d'oeuvres as well as live music nights to offer entertainment for the foot traffic on Davis Street.

Spigel holds no illusions about the potential perils of opening his gallery. He confesses to having a few moments of self doubt, but the development of the district affirms his decision.

"Galleries are a risky business, but I really like what's going on in that area," he says. "I'm hoping it'll draw in more art galleries. I think it's the start of something; it's changing every time I go down the street."

Spigel will be accepting artist submissions until October 12 to include in his gallery. He says he's looking for both established and budding artists who are looking to get a foothold in the art community, and he hopes EXHIBIT3 can provide that first step.

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