Young at Art

78th Street Studios' Survival Kit Gallery celebrates its first year with an expansion.

Alex Tapié saw more than just a place to hang art when she first toured 78th Street Studios. Since it debuted, her Survival Kit Gallery has exhibited emerging artists such as Dana Oldfather and Jonah Jacobs and hosted eclectic musicians such as The Black Swans as well as performance art from Inlet Dance Theatre and Cleveland Public Theatre.

"We not only want to be seen as an art gallery, but as an alternative venue space," she says of the place she opened with business partner, Brian Straw, a year ago.

The gallery's latest exhibit, Pens and Needles, features three talented Ohio artists, all under the age of 30.

"Part of the reason for showing younger artists is to get this contemporary aesthetic out there," says Tapié, a 2008 Cleveland Institute of Art graduate who works in mixed media.

For this exhibit, all three artists' works are ink or embroidery on paper. Columbus artist Aaron Troyer's work is graphic and bold, while Cleveland artist Carla Fontecchio crafts delicate pieces that resemble 19th-century naturalist drawings. Sarah Isenhart, also from Cleveland, creates vignettes by embroidering over old maps.

"Each of their work is quite different," Tapié says. "But the thing that relates them to one another is the detail and attention to line quality."

The exhibition opens Dec. 16 during 78th Street Studios' Third Fridays event, a monthly open house from 5 to 9 p.m. Tapié and Straw, who are members of the indie rock band The Buried Wires, will perform at the opening with the band Relaxer. 

Tapié says that when this exhibit closes on Jan. 20, so will the gallery, but just for a month or so. During that time, it will undergo renovations, more than doubling its space to 1,600 square feet. The expansion will allow more room for performers and the creation of studio space that artists can rent.

"We have everything under one roof — our studio space, recording studio, gallery and business all in one," says Tapié. "It was a joke at first that this was our little survival kit."


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