By Carrie Wenninger | CNA Media Team
For Pepe Moscoso, owner, curator and visual artist at Blind Insect, the recent move is a bit like coming home to an old friend. The multicultural art gallery opened at 2841 N.E. Alberta St.
When his southeast Division Street landlord decided to sell the building that housed the gallery, it offered Alberta Street a chance to work its synchronistic magic. Enter the proprietors of La Bonita, friends of Pepe, who suggested the vacant storefront adjoining their taqueria.
The vibrantly colored mural splashed across the building and the sunny southern exposure made it an easy decision.
So did Pepe’s longtime connection to Concordia’s art scene, which began 12 years prior through Allan Oliver, founder of the now-shuttered Onda Arte Latina gallery.
Featuring fine artists from Latin America and holding art openings on Last Thursdays, Onda was the first gallery to open its doors to Pepe’s work. And, when Blind Insect held its grand opening here last July, Allan was there to welcome him back.
Visitors are drawn into the small – but rich-with-curious-eye-and-soulgrabbing-art – space, the very opposite of a traditionally sparse and white-walled gallery. That space is split 50-50 between gallery and gift shop offerings with prices starting at just a few dollars. This is a place to taste affordable art and then develop your palate.
“Art helps us connect to our emotions. In the end, it’s a conversation that happens here,” Pepe said. He makes sure to photograph happy customers with their purchases. Those photos are featured on BlindInsect.com, partly to show the artist where his or her work has gone.
“An artist’s work is their baby,” he said. “It’s nice to know who now has your baby.”
He believes the name Blind Insect strikes a chord, and it has proven to be a strong marketing element. It recalls arriving in a new country and feeling blind to the culture, food and language.
It also touches on the alien-like nature of insects, as well as a childhood taunt, “mosca” – Spanish for “fly” – based on his surname, Moscoso.
The gallery accepts work from people of color, emerging artists and professional artists, which is to say: everyone. Online sales are in the works, as is a joint program with Pacific Northwest College of Art to offer student internships.
His message for neighbors? “Stop by, please keep supporting multicultural artists and, if you are an artist, we want to see your work.”
Carrie Wenninger lives on 29th Avenue in Concordia. She is a freelance writer, a mom, a world traveler and a small business marketing consultant. Contact her at WurdGurl@gmail.com.