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Published January 23rd, 2019
Large art gallery pop-up brings culture, commerce, community to downtown
The old Wells Fargo Bank building will provide an airy location for the new pop-up gallery coming to downtown Lafayette. Photo provided

Although vacant for a while now, the highly visible former home of Wells Fargo Bank on the corner of Moraga Road and Mt. Diablo Boulevard will soon come to life with the arrival of a "pop-up" art gallery, opening this Valentine's Day.
The use of the empty building as a gallery and interactive event space is the result of collaboration between Jennifer Perlmutter, founder of Lafayette's Jennifer Perlmutter Gallery, and property owner Steve Cortese. It's an idea born from a suggestion from Council Member Mike Anderson at the second retail workshop held by the city council last year to use empty storefronts for pop-up space.
The gallery will take advantage of great natural light in the airy building and will utilize the teller counters and vault with safety deposit boxes.
Perlmutter is excited, noting that the location in the center of town will increase the gallery's visibility. She says that JPG@The Bank, as it is known, will serve to amplify their cultural and artistic voice. "It will be a hub where artists, fans and collectors will come together for culture, community and commerce," she says.
"The response has been awesome so far," says Perlmutter. "Our city council and Chamber of Commerce were the first to back me. And for that I am very grateful. The property owner, Steve Cortese, is setting an example for the other owners in town. I reached out right away to other artists and organizations I wanted to work with and they are all helping to make this very short timeline and my extremely ambitious vision come to life!"
Perlmutter will be bringing in music performances, artist talks, wine tastings, collaborative painting, a weekend painting workshop with the Carl Heyward of Global Art Project, a youth poetry slam, Cal Shakes salon, a speaker night on the art of leadership, and more.
She explains, "We've done similar things in my other gallery with success and now we have more space to play with. I love to connect art and commerce through a mash up of all of these things, (and) what better place than an empty bank? I hope the city leadership as well as the property owners will see the benefit to the surrounding businesses and their other tenants."
The first exhibit in the pop-up gallery, titled "For The Love of Art," features Bay Area artists Charmaine Koh, Jane Burton, Carl Heyward, Akiko, Nicholas Coley and sculpture by Michael Rizza, among others. "New Currencies," the second exhibit, is a juried show with work submitted from national artists. All work is for sale and represented by Jennifer Perlmutter Gallery.
"Perhaps some day the city of Lafayette would follow the model of a municipal gallery and financially sponsor a curated space with arts and education," says Perlmutter, adding, that the area is full of artists.
The first event "For the Love of Art" opens Feb. 14. Perlmutter is also encouraging artists to submit to the open call for "New Currencies."

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