Rocio Cabello and Renny Molenaar are the proud owners of iMPeRFeCT Gallery on Greene Street in Germantown. Neatly tucked away behind the shops and restaurants of Chelten Avenue, this gallery brings art to a neighborhood in desperate need of artistic expression. From oil paintings to street photography, the space called, “iMPeRFeCT” is home to a variety of wonderfully creative mediums in an imperfect space.
“We wanted to create a gallery that is dedicated to the concerns of the artists,” Molenaar said. “We had to show and tell people what we thought a gallery really was, and they’re applauding us for that.”
This month, iMPeRFeCT Gallery will be celebrating its second anniversary with a special exhibit, showcasing work from a collection of artists who have been featured over the past year. Works by Tieshka Smith, Gina Michaels and Diane Laison, among other great talents, will be on display until July 5th.
“We do a lot of Germantown, just because there are so many wonderful artists here,” Molenaar said of the artists featured at iMPeRFeCT. “But we’re not a ‘Germantown Gallery.’ We’re interested in the world. But of course, we reflect our community.”
And the community is a top priority to the curators at iMPeRFect, specifically being educators to the younger generation.
“We made an attempt to reach out to all the schools in the area, so they are coming to check out exhibits,” Cabello said. “Unless you go to museums, or are from a family that goes to galleries, that’s not part of your experience. I think this makes it a lot more accessible. When you’re a kid, you need to know there is a future in art.”
But with a tumultuous economy, there are still many critics who scoff at art being a practical way to earn an income. On the contrary, Molenaar said he believes in the importance of being an artist, and the significant role artists play in society.
“There are sacrifices, there are difficult times,” Molenaar said. “But I wouldn’t trade it for anything on the planet.”
The past two years haven’t been easy for the gallery. Originally, the gallery did not have the financial backing its co-owners had hoped for, so being evicted from the space was a looming concern. Now, since the pair can sell artwork, along with funding from investors and donations from the community, the gallery is in a better space financially.
“The future is looking very bright,” Molenaar said.
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– Video, text and images by La’Rene Cassells.