Parlor Gallery: Home to Innovative Art
By Brian Laurito
In this series we're highlighting the businesses that form the foundation of Monmouth Arts' creative community, touching base to see how they're faring during the COVID-19 health crisis. This week we're putting the spotlight on Parlor Gallery in Asbury Park. A long time member of Monmouth Arts and collaborator on projects such as community ArtWalks, Parlor celebrated 12 years of being in business in February 2021. We touched base with owners Jenn Hampton and Jill Ricci to discuss how they've been adapting to life during the pandemic.
For those who don't know you yet, how would you describe your business?
Parlor Gallery presents a unique vision in New Jersey’s art community and features innovative work by some of the best emerging and established artists. We curate exhibits the public may not ordinarily have access to outside of a large urban environment—all within a welcoming, creative, and inspirational space. The Gallery provides a venue for both talented young artists who’ve never exhibited as well as internationally collected artists.
With Parlor Gallery’s innovative curation, we hope to expose, educate, and provide guidance to novice and seasoned collectors alike. We curate 10 to 12 exhibitions a year, as well as assist our patrons with commissions and art placement. Parlor Gallery is artist directed and curated.
What’s been your biggest business challenge during COVID-19?
One of the biggest challenges that we've faced during the pandemic has been not being able to have events where we showcase the curated art exhibitions that people have come to expect from us. We normally curate 6 to 8 exhibitions in our own space, as well as pop-ups in alternative spaces, but we've only been able to offer one (larger) exhibition since COVID-19 regulations started in March. We believe that art should be experienced in person—if there's access to it)—and not being able to have that kind of connection between the art and our collectors has been really challenging.
The COVID-19 situation continues to evolve . . . . How are you operating right now?
We're currently offering private, timed visits. These are really useful because they allow us to have one-on-one time with clients and art lovers. We have also been open to the public on the weekends but with a limited capacity, and we've been doing virtual exhibitions and studio visits/sales with a selection of artists that we regularly showcase at the gallery.
Can you share an anecdote about your business or something that might surprise people?
[From Jenn] It's a really funny story how we came to own Parlor Gallery together. Strangely enough, before opening my first gallery—Crybaby Gallery—in 2006, Jill was the first person I asked to own a gallery with me. She wasn't interested at the time, so we went our separate ways. I started Crybaby and Jill opened Exhibit A, which was on the boardwalk for a few years. When Crybaby was closing, Jill had a studio space above the current location of Parlor Gallery so I begged her to move downstairs and start a gallery with me. That's how Parlor came to be in 2009! It's just funny how things have come full circle!
What are you looking forward to in 2021?
We're looking forward to getting back to providing a space for artists to exhibit and share their works with us and the art community. And, of course, we're also looking forward to hosting artists and art lovers in our space once things have returned to normal.
Do you have any upcoming events or promotions you’d like people to know about?
We have a fun virtual exhibition that we curated for Valentine's Day that you can visit on our Artsy Page. To check it out, just click here.
Monmouth Arts has a great network of arts supporters. How can our members and readers support your business right now?
We hope that people will view our virtual offerings if they can't come to our space. We are also using this time to make timed appointments to showcase the art that we have on the walls. Finally, we hope people will take advantage of our "art house calls" service. We'll come to your home or office so that we can help find the perfect piece of art to add to your collection! [See the photo gallery below for some shots of work from Parlor that have been installed in homes.]
Where can folks find you?
Facebook: Parlor Gallery
Interested in becoming a member like Parlor Gallery? Become a member of Monmouth Arts today!