The Pop Up Art of Bethel gallery, located in the enormous, brick-orange building opposite the Bethel Cinema, is hosting their first exhibit. The response of those who have come in has been encouraging to owner Frank Cara, who said, “People walk in and say, ‘Oh, this is like Brooklyn!”
Of the 3,900 square feet dedicated to the art space, 3,000 is gallery. The other 900 is artist studios. “My original vision was to have a place for artists, who might want to rent space. We have four artists here now, but we have room for six more,” Frank said.
Cara purchased the enormous building nine years ago because he said, “It felt like it would lend itself to the art community. It’s the only industrial type of building in the area.”
He believes that having artists in the community creates an exciting and vibrant atmosphere. “When you bring in artists, you bring in an intelligent crowd,” he said.
Cara is currently working in partnership with Michael Seri, who helped to curate the current show.
“We went back and forth about it for years,” Seri said, about the possibility of creating a full time gallery space. “But I was in Vegas, and I saw a Pop-Up gallery and thought, we could do that!”
A Pop-Up gallery happens in places where there is an empty building, and rather than have it look empty, landlords will put local art in the windows. In this case, it meant to Seri that they could do the art gallery occasionally.
The current exhibit is showing art by 25 artists from surrounding areas, such as Juan Andreu of Southbury, Jim Felice of Danbury, Judith Wyer of New Canaan, Chris Durante of Redding, Nicole Cadzillo of Bethel, and Keith Frew of Westport, among others from further surrounding towns.
In terms of location, Seri and Cara agree they couldn’t be in a better place. The Bethel Cinema is already bringing in people from other areas. Cara and Seri said they did their own little survey and found that people from all over Fairfield County and as far away as some New York towns, travel to the only art cinema in the area. They believe the gallery, as well as the town, could benefit from this.
Seri, an energetic artist from Danbury, said, “People come to Bethel for the movies, and they are coming into the gallery and saying, ‘This is what I have been waiting for. People are hungry for places like this’.”
Their opening exhibit on June 30 saw a crowd of 250 people, and a Meet the Artist evening drew a large crowd as well. Cara added, “The goal is to raise the bar on the quality of art available in the area.”
For future events, the gallery is considering a variety of ideas including artists of all sorts, on a regular basis.
The gallery is currently showing art from many different artists from all over Fairfield Country and New York.
The gallery is located at 262 Greenwood Ave, Bethel, 203-512-9129. Gallery hours are Friday through Sunday from 2 p.m. through 9:30 p.m but may be subject to change.