New gallery makes Harlem home

New gallery makes Harlem home
From left, artists Renee Cox and Juana Valdez at the celebratory opening of the new art space, Gallery 8 on Feb. 4
Claudia Mendoza Blanco

From London to Harlem.

A British-based gallery celebrated the opening of its location in Harlem on Feb. 4. Gallery 8 welcomed dozens of Harlemites into the new art space to introduce themselves to the neighborhood, and give residents a chance to get acquainted with the gallery, said the gallery’s partner.

“It was great — we invited people into the space and had the time to meet some of our of neighbors and learn their names, as a community,” said Richard Scarry.

The neighborhood welcoming day was a success according to Scarry, and he and the gallery partner Chippy Coates and founder Celine Gould, aimed at drawing in everyone to the space.

“We even stopped passerby and had them in for coffee and tea — the day was well received and quite busy,” he added.

The gallery’s opening exhibit, “All That You Have Is Your Soul,” is a Cuban-themed art series that focuses on work from people connected to the country in some way, tackling a variety subjects such as race, colorism, stereotypes, and gender, said Scarry. It will be on display until March 10.

Gallery 8 will not only be an art gallery, but a space for other institutions and art dealers to use for events and other engaging cultural programs, said Scarry.

Setting up shop in Harlem — their first U.S.-based location — Scarry said the area’s past and current history made it an ideal destination for their stateside launch.

“For us it was about finding a landmark building on a corner, and when we found the space it was serendipity and an opportunity and moment we couldn’t pass up,” said Scarry. “I always knew that Harlem was the beacon of African American culture in the U.S., and now that we’re here, we’re learning about the Latin side, the Afro-Cuban side and the influx of people who are here now. I think Harlem has a wonderful tapestry of different cultures and we gravitate to that, and we are excited to be a part of that.”

Gallery 8 [2602 Frederick Douglass Blvd. between W. 138th and W. 139th streets in Harlem].

Reach reporter Alexandra Simon at (718) 260–8310 or e-mail her at asimo[email protected]

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