Located dozens of blocks from the cobbled Old City streets, where galleries are a dime a dozen, sits Urban Art Gallery, the creation of longtime Philadelphian Karl Morris. You won’t find any stuffiness here; while Karl’s gallery adds a polished feel to the urban streets of Philadelphia, he invites everyone to come and enjoy a taste of art, whether it is to admire the featured exhibits or to attend any of the many, many events UAG hosts under its wide umbrella of art. Don’t believe us? Stop by this Saturday night, April 26th. From 7 to 9:30 pm UAG teams up with the Producer’s Guild to present “Jazz Scapes”, a night of jazz music for just $10.
Karl spoke with InLiquid and gave us a look into the gallery, his motivations in creating it, and why Urban Art Gallery is truly one-of-a-kind.
Will you tell us a little bit about your gallery and your goals in establishing UAG?
Our gallery opened in April 2013 and from the start, our goal was to bridge the gap between art and the community. We want to create an exciting venue where both emerging artists and established artists can exhibit and sell their artwork.
Many of Philadelphia’s art galleries reside in Old City. UAG is located in West Philly – what was the decision behind the location, and how does it fit in with UAG’s approach to art?
We owned the building in West Philadelphia on 52nd Street for some years and we believed it was time for a change in the neighborhood. It was time to bring more culture and a whole new look to the area. And there are so many local artists who say that they find it difficult to get their work into the galleries downtown. So we wanted to provide a more welcoming platform which fits into our approach of bridging the gap between art and the community.
UAG is unique in taking an interactive approach to art with events like poetry showcases and live performances. What is your intent behind this approach?
Our intent is to bring all art forms back to life within the community— not just visual, but music, poetry, fashion and culinary as well. By doing this, it brings out people of different backgrounds to our location and creates a connectedness that otherwise wouldn’t exist.
Will you tell us a little more about the events your gallery hosts?
We’re an art gallery first and foremost so everything we do is about bringing people to the space so they can appreciate and purchase the art. To get people to the gallery, we host a variety of events, such as traditional art exhibits, spoken word open mic nights, musical showcases, food tastings, fashion shows, jazz shows, and networking events. These events are open to the public and the art takes center stage.
UAG has a blog, Instagram, and Twitter presence. Why have you chosen to focus so strongly on social media?
We focus on social media because that’s one of the main marketing tools that people use. Anyone who’s serious about promoting their art or their business should use it because it’s low cost and gives you the opportunity to really engage with people. So it all goes back to our goal of bridging the gap between art and the community. If we’re serious about that goal, then we have to go to where the people are and let them see the beauty that art brings to the world.