Artist Kara Hoblin, 28, stands in the middle of the newly spruced-up storefront at 19 Front Street in Greenport and can’t help but smile.
“This is my dream become a reality,” she says.
She’s referring to the North Fork Art Collective, a center for exhibiting and creating art in a supportive and inspiring atmosphere that officially opens on September 1.
Along with six other young artists, Hoblin is leasing the light-filled shop which years ago housed Kate’s One Hour Photo.
“All of us at the collective have worked really hard to get this space open,” she says. “And people from the community have stepped up to give us a hand, lending us equipment, giving us advice and even coming in to help with the physical labor.”
“This wouldn’t be possible without them.”
Hoblin’s dream of an art collective began after her involvement in Brooklyn’s now defunct 3rd Ward, a collective art studio and teaching space housed in an old warehouse.
“I’ve really missed working with other artists, getting the critique and the inspiration that being around other artists provides,” she said.
At the North Fork Art Collective, photographers Madison Fender and Jeremy Garretson, multimedia artist Scott Bluedorn, painter Emma Bailou, collagist/sculptor Pete Treiber, charcoal artist Kelly Franké and Hoblin all have their work hanging together.
“This whole space is curated,” says Hoblin. “it’s not everyone’s work in a separate section. This is a working co-op.”
In fact, while planning out the opening show, Hoblin and Fender realized that one of Fender’s photographs seemed to mesh with one of Hoblin’s paintings, so they put them together, creating a collaborative piece.
All seven artists in the collective pitch in to pay the rent and each takes a day to act as the receptionist, greeting visitors and selling artwork. During their shifts, the artists are free to work when there are no visitors and any of the artists is welcome to use the space to work any time they like.
In addition to the gallery space, there is a room in the back where Hoblin says they hope to offer workshops or classes.
“Scott is interested in doing a Japanese paper-marbling class, Madison might want to do a collage class. And since I have experience in marketing, I might teach artists how to handle social media.”
Hoblin stresses that the collective is a work in progress, one that will evolve as they go along.
“We’d like to include the community as much as possible,” she says. “We’re thinking of having submission based community shows and maybe some kind of membership program which would allow artists who don’t have studio space to use our classroom area to create.”
Hoblin is a firm believer in the importance of being around other artists to create and work together and can’t say enough about the people in the collective.
“I’m beyond super grateful to have such a good team of artists that are quickly becoming like family to me,” she says.
The North Fork Art Collective is located at 19 Front Street, Greenport and will be open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. An opening reception is planned for September 1. Visit their Facebook page for more information.