July 29, 2021

At a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has brought many small art galleries to their premature end, a new commercial gallery of contemporary southern art has opened in Tucker, Georgia. It is there that the rek Gallery is facing, head-on, a changing world of art patronage and retail uncertainty.

rek Gallery curator and owner Rick Baldwin secured the 2,000 square foot space in February of this year and has spent most of the year putting together an art collection consisting of eclectic and edgy works by southern-influenced artists. “I reached out to several regional and local artists I knew personally or had discovered through social media,” Baldwin says. “I knew what type of art I wanted to show but I had to convince several artists to take a chance on a new gallery. After awhile, artists began telling other artists and soon I was being contacted by and discovering some amazing artists. We’ve been able to build an initial collection I’m very proud of. I’m looking forward to bringing it to the public.”

Baldwin admits he has patiently waited for the perfect opportunity to resurrect the rek Gallery which saw its origins in a small corner building in Chattanooga 10 years ago. At that time, Baldwin recognized a need for a gallery spotlighting art from southern artists working in styles ranging from graffiti and street art to tattoo inspired designs, pop art, cartoons and comic art, abstract, outsider art, low brow and other experimental forms that might not fit into more traditional galleries. He eventually closed that Chattanooga gallery but saw a promising opportunity to revive it this year in Tucker, converting a former wireless phone store into the new, larger rek Gallery.

In addition to challenges from the ongoing pandemic, the rek Gallery finds itself in an area east of Atlanta that doesn’t often experience the large crowds of galleries like those in Midtown, Buckhead or even Decatur. “We’re currently the lonely art gallery in the middle of a long line of Lawrenceville Highway auto repair and furniture shops,” Baldwin says. “It’s a great location but one where people may not be expecting to find an art gallery. I’d love to see us inspire a movement of new galleries into the Tucker area. It will be nice to join forces with existing studios and art groups here to help make Tucker more of a creative destination in the Atlanta area.”

While the rek Gallery shows the works of a regular group of artists, including some from Baldwin himself, every month or two the gallery will spotlight a new featured artist. The first artist to fill that spot at the rek Gallery is Atlanta neo-expressionist artist, Vando Davis. Davis’ large works on canvas and 3-D works are currently on display through the end of August in an exhibit titled Kindness Workz. Other regular events in the gallery will be “First Friday” receptions, special holiday events and a Grand Opening Celebration in October. The gallery space will also be available to rent for special meetings and private events.

Currently, the rek Gallery carries the work of 20 artists. Works ranging from paintings, drawings, textile art, photography, sculpture and jewelry. All original art is available for purchase and prints and unique gift items are available in the gallery gift shop. Gallery hours are Wednesday-Saturday: Noon – 7, Sunday Noon – 6. Private appointment visits can be scheduled in advance on Tuesdays. The gallery is closed Monday.

For more information, contact the rek Gallery at 678-404-5597 or by email, rekgallery@gmail.com. Visit the gallery’s website at www.rek.gallery.