North Tonawanda is expanding its cultural offerings this evening with the grand opening of its newest art gallery, Project 308 Gallery at 308 Oliver St.
The gallery, brainchild of University at Buffalo graduate student Natalie Brown, 24, will kick off its first show at 7 p.m. with a reception complete with drinks, hors d’hoerves and a live DJ. A kid’s station will even be available for the little ones to create their own works of art as mom and dad check out the show, titled “Tactile Optics: Seeing Through Feeling.”
Brown said the opening of the gallery is the result of a school project for her art history masters with a specialization in museum studies at University at Buffalo.
“I always thought it was interesting to research museum theory and how museums work,” she said. “For a project we were allowed to do whatever we want and I turned it into a career move. That’s why I named it Project 308, because it’s an ongoing project for myself.”
Project 308 Gallery will welcome a variety of art styles and subjects, Brown said, adding that the space will at times feature shows she curates and other times artists will rent out the space.
“I figure nothing’s restricted. I’m not going to outcast any kind of art ... but I’m going towards modern, contemporary artwork,” she said. “It will be something new and fun and I want a lot of interaction with the audience.”
Which is why the idea behind the inaugural show was so appealing to Brown.
“Tactile Optics” is perhaps the most interactive a gallery showing can be because unlike most exhibits, visitors can actually touch the paintings and sculptures on display.
“With my interest in museum theory I realize you’re so restricted sometimes. You can experience the painting only by looking at it from a distance ... you never get to touch fine art. I really wanted something different and I wanted it to be kid friendly,” she said.