Between Goodfellows Bar and the Princeton Review on Franklin Street resides a sleek white door; the entrance to one of Chapel Hill’s newest artistic endeavors, Galore.
UNC boasts sports, academic distinction, and social activism, often with less consideration for the arts that empower the community This makes Galore a gem, an essential step towards supporting the student art community.
The student-run non-profit art store, began to develop during the fall semester of 2018 after the success of ‘Intersections’, an event held in collaboration with Coulture and Vintage Blue.
Vintage Blue is a student-run company dedicated to connecting the community through fashion, design, and creative visual mediums. With the help of Coulture, Vintage Blue formulated the event, a multi-interactive gallery devoted to joining human differences and similarities through the talent of seven student artists. The event was held in the MEJO 650: Workroom FashionMash Experiential Design on Franklin Street, utilizing a connecting room to sell the stationary, stickers and prints of each artist. The store amassed a little under five thousand dollars for the participating seven.
The monetary and community success of the event signified to Colby Kirkpatrick, director of events and retail for Vintage Blue, that a market existed for student art in Chapel Hill. Dana McMahan, professor and owner of the FashionMash space, agreed with Kirkpatrick, supporting the design and construction of the connecting room into a static retailer.
The word Galore imbues an idea of beauty and strength. Qualities which shine through within the space’s design. FashionMash, whose client for the year was Gucci, designed the studio and store with the brand’s multi colored aesthetic — focusing upon the inclusive and robust nature of the company.
However, the real beauty of Galore is in its message.
“We want to elevate the talent of all of the UNC creatives that exist on this campus. There’s so much talent across mediums whether its a photographer, a painter, an illustrator, someone who does apparel design or embroidery. I don’t think there’s enough exposure and interaction between the arts communities with the rest of UNC. Our primary goal for when people walk in, is to be overwhelmed that there are people they walk past on campus every day that make these incredible beautiful things,” said Kirkpatrick.
“Blue Boy,” @BARELYBLUEBOY on Instagram. Photographer: Luke Collins.
As a non-profit, Galore works to provide student artists with free promotion and production. Production costs for an artist’s work are considered, “partnership products.” Galore partners with the student to make the products in collaboration with other artists in the area.
Kirkpatrick and his ten-person team add the production costs to the artist’s set price with additional markups, which go towards business operation and the UNC art community.
Galore exists “not to determine what is or is not beautiful or artistic. But, more to advise the artist on how to best make what they already do have mass consumer appeal, and try to help them flip some of their pieces into consumable products,” says Kirkpatrick.
Currently, 25 student artists have their work displayed at Galore. Kirkpatrick hopes to gain artists in the coming weeks. At the moment, interested artists can direct message the store on Instagram at galorestorech. However, Kirkpatrick desires to set up an e-commerce store with an option of art submission once the shop gains more traction.
The future of Galore hinges upon the financial success in the coming semester. Kirkpatrick hopes by February his team can involve the student community and adjoining Chapel Hill-Carrboro area, stating, “our mission once we kind of get our feet under us would be holding weekly or biweekly events, that bring in other artistic communities. So, we would like to have events with poetry readings or events where we bring in someone who is good at embossing.”
Galore works to bring student art to the forefront of the UNC community. Striving to show support for talent that would remain hidden if organizations like Vintage Blue failed to get involved.
Kirkpatrick couldn’t have said it any better: “ The arts are underappreciated, underfunded, and undervalued. Our core mission is to help change that.”