Things can get a little sluggish during Phoenix summers, but Palabra Collective isn't showing any signs of slowing down. The art gallery/hair salon just moved to a new (bigger) location off of Seventh Street, and owner Jorge Torres is opening a satellite Palabra pop-up gallery at UNION at the Biltmore for the month of June.
Torres didn't have to look far for a new space; at the beginning of May Palabra moved to 630 East Pierce, right next door to its old location. This part of the building is 2,500 square feet, about three times as large as the original Palabra, says Torres.
And he has big plans for that extra square footage.
Torres wants to keep the new space's pre-existing stage and use it for regular music performances. There's also an area set aside for photo shoots, which could be rented out or used for Palabra's own promotional materials. Eventually, Torres says, he'd even like to add a coffee station to the mix.
"I never just wanted to be a hair salon that put up art," he says. The extra space will hopefully allow Palabra to continue to expand as hub for all sorts of artistic endeavors in downtown Phoenix. In the last location, the salon set-up had to be moved into the back room every time there was an opening. Now, all of the diverse components that make up Palabra can occupy space simultaneously.
And while Torres works to get the new location ready, he's setting up a mini-shop in the somewhat-emptier UNION at the Biltmore in the space that used to be home to British Bicycle Company. He says he is indebted to Stephen Clark and Christy Kimball of Framed Ewe for suggesting the idea and helping to make it a reality.
Torres is excited about the chance to break into a new demographic, giving his artists representation outside of the Roosevelt district. The first show, entitled "Girl," will feature work from Rebecca Green and Mikey Jackson. There will be an opening reception at the beginning of June, but the new pop-up gallery will also be open 7 days a week during normal UNION business hours Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m.
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For someone who has so much going on, Torres is a pro at playing it cool. Right now he's focused on setting up the pop-up, renovating the new space, and scouting musicians, he says. Oh, and he still cuts hair on a regular basis. He admits his plate is getting pretty full, but he's excited to see how it all pans out. And so are we.
Palabra's pop-up at UNION at the Biltmore will officially open on Sunday, June 1. An opening reception for "Girl" featuring the work of Rebecca Green and Mikey Jackson will take place at 6 p.m. Friday June 6. Follow palabracollective on Instagram for updates.