By B.C. Manion
It’s a place that invites visitors to drink in all kinds of artistic creations.
There are woven baskets, metal sculptures, oil paintings, watercolors, digital art, wildlife photography and photography of nature and other outdoor scenes.
There’s jewelry, too.
It’s also a setting for art classes and is known for its special events, where people can decorate cupcakes, do makeovers and engage in all sorts of other fun stuff.
Welcome to HiBrow Art Gallery, at 14127 Seventh St., in downtown Dade City.
The nonprofit artists’ co-op is part of Dade City Center for the Arts Inc.
The art gallery occupies just one of three spaces in the building, owned by Dade City Commissioner Camille Hernandez and her husband, David.
One of the other spaces in the building soon will become the home of a bakery, and the other space is a venue used for concerts and other special events.
The artist co-op works like this: Members pay $35 a month to display their works and volunteer to staff the gallery once a month. If they can’t work the gallery, they pay a slightly higher fee of $60 a month, said Stuart Marcus, a wildlife photographer who is one of the co-op artists.
Artists get to display several works on the walls and also can have a bin of works for sale, Marcus said. They get to keep 100 percent of the proceeds from the sales of their works on display and pay a 25 percent commission for works that are sold from their bins, he said.
That’s significant for artists because they often pay commissions of 35 percent or more at galleries selling their works, Marcus said.
Besides giving artists a place to display their work, the gallery also rotates the works around the gallery, to ensure each artist gets equal treatment, said Lyndsie Daughtery, who works at the gallery.
The gallery space, which opened two years ago, has undergone substantial improvements.
Besides a fresh coat of paint, the gallery now has more display space, too.
“We just put this new wall up. We wanted to have more space. We want to get as much work up (on display) for our artists as we can,” Daughtery said,
The additional space has made more room for new artists, she said. Those showing works in the gallery must have their works approved before they can join the co-op.
Marcus built the new wall for the gallery. It adds 64 linear feet of wall space for artists and can be moved and reconfigured to produce varying effects, he said.
The gallery also will be getting improved lighting and flooring, which will benefit both the artists and gallery visitors, Marcus said.
Daughtery, who attends Saint Leo University, works at the gallery through an arrangement between the gallery and the university.
She loves her job.
“It’s an interesting place to work,” Daughtery said. “The artists — they all do completely different things.”
Marcus, for instance, shoots beautiful photographs of wildlife, she said.
Eric Durham, another photographer, takes stunning photos of nature, which he displays on canvas, Daughtery said. The technique makes the photographs look like paintings.
“It makes them look really, really pretty,” she said.
Josephine Jones, another artist in the co-op, does all sorts of painting in a variety of media. She does abstracts and surrealism. She does acrylics and oils. She also teaches.
She and her husband travel in a RV, and when they’re not on the road, they live in Dade City.
“I teach at RV rallies,” she said. She also teaches at HiBrow.
She’s the featured artist at the gallery this month and is pleased to have her works on display at HiBrow.
“It’s very nice,” she said, adding it will get better when planned improvements are made.
Prices for the jewelry, baskets and fine art begin at around $15 for a piece of jewelry to nearly $10,000 for an artwork.
HiBrow gets a fair amount of traffic, Daughtery said.
“People who come down here for vacation, they like to stroll around here. It’s just a nice place to come,” she said. “Some of the same people come in here every week,” she said.
She’s also noticed an increasing number of buyers, not just browsers.
“In the past few weeks, I’ve made more sales and more sales and more sales,” Daughtery said. “I can tell the economy is getting better.”
HiBrow Art Gallery, 14127 Seventh St., Dade City
Hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday (Extended hours during special events)
For more information call (352) 521-3823