People who checked out the “Spencer Reynolds: Pacific Drift” show which opened on September. 17th are aware that Salem is lucky enough to have a new art venue. The High Street Gallery is the newest venture of artist and designer Michael Hernandez. Hernandez, who holds a degree in Art & Design from Cal Poly University, spent over 20 years living in Portland working for Nike. He was active in the Portland art community, showing his paintings in solo and group shows. Three years ago he started his own design consultancy, The Bruin Co., as the beginning of a dream of having “a business where I could use my experience and design skills to build and sustain a business that satisfied my creative passions for art and design.” The High St. Gallery represents the second part of that dream. Hernandez describes it as “a flexible space that can function as both a workspace and a gallery.”
Asked about his choice to move to Salem, and what it means for his art and business, Hernandez is very positive. He states that “Salem is a friendly city emerging at a pace that is right for Salem.” He is especially enthusiastic about a new event series organized by Anna Cottom of the Prisms Gallery
called Final Friday Art Walk. Starting this month local businesses and galleries will be hosting the Art Walk. Maps will direct participants through downtown to view art and build community.
Hernandez, who joined Artists in Action before moving to Salem, is energized by the move. He is looking forward to creating his own art as well as building his design consultancy business. He feels that there is an interest in Salem for art venues that support the local creative community. His vision for the space is one that will create opportunities for artists to show their work and provide a space where everyone can enjoy and experience art. He says the gallery will be “focused on showing contemporary art that feature artists in solo and group formats, and will also lend itself to pop-up events and gatherings.” His plans also include the possibility of adding some small retail or consignment offerings. He states that he is open to showing multiple media, not just 2-D, and will see how that evolves in the future.
For refreshments for the Gallery’s first show, Hernandez partnered with one of the other tenants in the building, Carrie Wong, owner of Extreme Chocolates, to delicious effect. He and Wong plan to collaborate more in the future. As he explains, “we recognize that art goers enjoy some hors d’oeuvres and drinks while attending shows. We see it as a must have for gallery shows!” The next show is which is scheduled to open December 3rd will be a group show. Until then people are encouraged to view the Spencer Reynolds show and enjoy Salem’s newest art space.
High St. Gallery
Hours: Thurs-Fri. 12-5pm; Sat. 5:30-8:30pm. Or by appointment. 700 High St. NE, Suite 180 503-793-4504 Gallery Events on Sat.