The hot spot on Friday, October 24, was definitely The Allery, a home turned collaborative art gallery that invited the public into its creative space. The Allery is helmed by J.B. Snyder, a local muralist and owner of the Fifth Street Paint Supply Store. Snyder lives and breathes paint. And so does The Allery, best described as a place where local artists can rent space, for a reasonable fee, and also get an opportunity to display their creative palettes to the public alongside local heavy hitters in the mural art scene.
The space's first exhibition, "Opening Day," featured work from Snyder, Lalo Cota, Pablo Luna, and a few others, like Angel Diaz, who painted while urbanites mingled. Diaz painted a large mural free-hand along a wall in the backyard. The creativity and the feel was welcoming and a little reserved. Entering through the front porch, attendees walked directly into a room set up with hand-painted portraits in ornate glossy frames across four walls. Studio spaces, including one inhabited by Cota, are on either side.
Cota is known for his murals in the downtown Phoenix area, beautiful Day of the Dead-style paintings found in the Roosevelt Row area of downtown and also in his gallery, Por Vida, co-owned with Luna and Thomas "Breeze" Marcus. Cota doesn't only paint murals, he also does smaller pieces, one being P O P, which features the likeness of Michael Jackson and was on display at The Allery's opening. It's an eye-catching piece that Cota discussed with meanderers.
Luna, another local mural artist, is an animated character who has a space at The Allery. His art laced the graffiti-laden walls of his studio with Picasso-like faces. The room vibrated with music but felt small with so many people. It's obvious the artists who share the space collaborate with each other, and now they have a gathering place to share their art among friends.
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Snyder's studio space is in a detached structure around the left side of the backyard through a skeleton of a room with knocked-out walls. It's accessible through a dirt-lined hallway with at least three garage-trailer studio rooms all open for perusal. The space was pleasantly piled with paints, colors, a small couch, and fresh canvasses, both finished and in progress. There was so much to take in that not staring for at least five minutes seemed to not do it justice, because the details in Snyder's art are fine and chaotic.
The backyard featured DJ Just Chris and pulsed with music, occasional bouts of dancing, and simple white party lights decorated the stucco backyard walls. Well dressed downtowners mingled and talked with the artists who were either in their studios talking about art or stepping in and out of conversations like Snyder and Luna did while we were there. The overall scene was inviting and gave a glimpse of art in an intimate way.
Editor's note: This post has been edited to correct an error. J.B. Snyder does not own The Allery.