The Deep Ellum Art Company has a vision: growing a network of artists, and helping them prosper creatively and economically. Artistic director Amber Crimmings, along with owner John LaRue, are taking their vision a step further with their Satellite Gallery program.
LaRue says the satellite galleries are a way of helping Deep Ellum Art Co. maximize its footprint. The venue-gallery mash-up is partnering with local businesses to help them profit off their walls while also supporting local artists. Art Co. will curate art to be displayed and sold in these local businesses.
“Business walls already have a large customer base,” Crimmings says. “Well, a wall can make you money in a business.”
Crimmings says each satellite gallery can be curated completely differently. For example, Art Co. displays its art in a non-uniformed fashion, compared with a more traditional art gallery.
“It takes the stigma of art galleries out of people's minds too,” LaRue says. “They see the gallery setting at Art Co., and it's like 'Well, this isn't the typical art gallery.'”
Crimmings says, “Art Co. is very diverse, and a bit more of a grower gallery in the sense that, with our music crowds, we're bringing so many new people to purchasing and seeing the art by local artists, but others will have higher-end needs and a different kind of style to be displayed in a more uniform sense.”
The first satellite gallery will be on display at The Free Man Cajun Cafe & Lounge, a venue the folks at DEAC have built a relationship with since they opened in 2017.
“We have a good relationship with John Jay down at The Free Man," LaRue says. "He's somebody I believe in a great deal. I think his concept has proven itself, and his passion and dedication to our local musicians and artists is second to none. There are very few people out there who give a shit like he does.”
The gallery at The Free Man features portraits by local artist Kyle Hoffman and Karen Eliza Aguilar’s paintings inspired by sacred signs and symbols, as well as others.
"We have such a great diverse group of artists that we work with, and have artists on the wall that are at various levels, from a student working to finish their degree to our sweet Ann Griffin who is 72 and always brings fresh cookies when she drops off her work, which is amazing light manipulation photography," Crimmings says.
The program will operate much like Art Co. does, Crimmings says. While other DEAC satellite galleries might work differently, the art on the walls at The Free Man will be labeled with QR codes to be scanned for purchasing. The art will also be available online to be purchased remotely.
Once the art is purchased online, an automated email with a receipt and a picture of the piece is sent to the buyer. Then, all they have to do is show an on-site employee the email, and the buyer can take home the art that day.
The Satellite Gallery Program allows DEAC to push out and expand the boundaries in the ways it is able to help support artists, Crimmings says, adding that the program is a visual thread through which people can see the many ways Art Co. works to help artists.
Crimmings is open to change with this new venture.
“It's all a beta test, you know, everything's a test,” she says. “It'll be interesting to see how it grows and morphs.”