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Pigtown art gallery trades work for wall space

Wanna see a photo of two dragonflies mating?

Wait don't answer that. Just head over to Gallery 788, a new artists' space at 788 Washington Boulevard in Pigtown, where provocative works from a dozen Baltimore artists whose mediums range from photography, painting, and sculpture, to illustration, filmmaking, singing and songwriting, poetry, performance art and various other media.

The new gallery, which hosted a "soft launch" for about 250 people on July 30, gives artists the opportunity to show their work and gain visibility without the expense and networking hurdles of breaking into the private gallery scene. According to photographer Terry Smith, who snapped the dragonfly dalliance and other nature-themed photographs currently on display, the building has been opened up to artists by owners Mark and Patrice Smith (no relation), who run Baltimore-based Magnum Construction. Artists who pass an informal jury pay just $50 to display their work for a month and help operate the gallery four days a week. In exchange, they receive full price for their pieces; the gallery does not charge a commission.

The first exhibit will run two months, and subsequent exhibits will rotate monthly. Smith, a supervisor for Magnum Construction, calls the two-story space with nine-foot high ceilings "clean, crisp, brand new and wide open," which, coupled with the great foot traffic at the corner of Washington and Scott Streets, make it the ideal space for displaying art.

"I think it's a good fit with the plans Mark has for Washington Boulevard," Smith says, alluding to  work being done in the area by Magnum. "He's making it a destination point and this gallery would add to that. As restaurants and businesses come in, people will visit the gallery."

Gallery 788 is open Thur. 5 p.m. - 9 p.m.; Fri. noon 8 p.m.; Sat. 10 a.m. 8 p.m.; and
Sun. noon 6 p.m. For more information, contact Eduardo Rodriguez at gallery788@gmail.com.

Source: Terry Smith, Magnum Construction
Writer: Lucy Ament

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