Don’t expect to see artists JJ Graham and Petra Iston in their pajamas as they mark the first anniversary of Salvo Art Project, the gallery and artist studio complex they opened in Bunnell after shuttering Hollingsworth Gallery in Palm Coast.
While they’ve amped up the business side of their artistic pursuits, the two artists–who got engaged earlier this year–still have time to paint and create and channel their muses at Salvo, which is nestled in the flora, fauna (cockatiels, goats) and statuary of the Nature Scapes Landscape and Garden Center just off State Road 100.
“We have our studio right smack dab in the middle of everything,” said Graham as he reflected on the successes and challenges they’ve encountered since opening Salvo in late November 2014. “We’ve kind of learned to acclimate our process of creating art to accommodate the visitors and the people who come here.
“Sometimes that itself can become the inspiration, where we’re lucky enough to be surrounded by children and people who are enthusiastic about art, and people who are just sometimes curious. We’ve kind of rebelled against the notion that art has to be this private, clandestine thing where you show up in your pajamas and you’re a mad genius (laughs).”
Graham and Iston shape-shifted a high-ceiling, garage-like space into an art gallery, a classroom and eight artist studios on the ground floor, and additional loft studios are under construction.
Most months Salvo presents events that combine exhibitions, meet-and-greets with artists and live music. Two such events include the Flagler Youth Orchestra tonight (Dec. 4), and a New Year’s Eve Party on Dec. 31 that will be co-hosted by the Young Professional’s Group of Flagler County.
“We’re still in the stages as a place that needs patrons,” Graham said. “It’s still a labor of love. We still haven’t hit the crest of the hill yet but we’re further along than when we first began. We definitely accomplished some of our goals and some of them we’re still working on.”
The facility still lacks air conditioning.
“We do things when we have money to do them, and we have to get creative when we don’t,” Graham said. “We’re building it as we go. But we’ve been able to pay the bills and stay in business.”
On the success side of the ledger, work has begun on the second-floor studios.
“It’s a great atmosphere to work,” Graham said. “We have a awaiting list of artists who want to be a part of this as we expand. Our spirits are still strong and we have a great family of artists here. The support we do have, which is growing at a somewhat steady pace, is good.”
The Flagler Youth Orchestra’s Harmony Chamber Orchestra will perform “String Menagerie” at 6 p.m. Friday Dec. 4 at Salvo Art Project, 313 Old Brick Road (in the Nature Scapes Landscape & Garden Center), Bunnell. Admission is $10 and includes wine and hors d’oeuvres. Children are free. Proceeds will benefit the FYO and Salvo. For information contact the FYO at 386-503-3808 or flagleryouthorchestra.org, or Salvo at 386-871-9546 or salvoart.org.
Salvo and the Young Professional’s Group of Flagler County (YPG) will host a New Year‘s Eve Party at 8 p.m. Dec. 31 at Salvo. Tickets are $75 per person and $100 for a couple, and must be purchased in advance. Proceeds will benefit Youth Leadership Flagler and Salvo Art Project. For tickets and more information, go to the “events” page at flaglerchamber.org.