New art gallery in downtown Lynchburg aims to be more inclusive | Local News

A new art gallery on the first floor of the Allied Arts building in downtown Lynchburg offers something different from what you might expect from traditional exhibits.

Notebooks with original artwork created by Stability X go on sale at its art gallery, Be Kind Gallery, in the Allied Arts Building in downtown Lynchburg on Wednesday.

Photo by Kendall Warner, The News & Advance

Stability X, owner and founder of Be Kind Gallery 101 located at 725 Church St., Suite A, is a disabled veteran, single mother, and now an art gallery.

She opened the gallery in early March and said she wanted it to be a more inclusive art space.

“I don’t look at people’s work and think, ‘Oh, that’s not a Mona Lisa, I can’t hang it on my walls’, I want the name of the gallery to speak for itself . When you come here, I want you to have a caring frame of mind when you look at the artist’s artwork, because often I feel like we look at art wondering, “Is -is it beautiful, does it have a meaning, does it have a purpose? “, Did she say.

She said she wanted this space to be a welcoming environment.

“We’re kind of coming out of COVID and a lot of people were home doing arts and crafts. I want them to have a place to show their work that they have done and explored over the past few years,” she said.

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Both of X’s parents were in the military, so she was expected to do the same, she said.

“And being young and impressionable and listening to your parents, you think they know best. So I went into the military for nine years, but suffered a few traumatic brain injuries jumping out of planes for the 82nd Airborne Division,” she said.

In light of this, she decided to go to school full time to earn a degree in history to teach high school students.

“But I really wanted some nice supplies to set the tone to get me into this new chapter, so I decided to do stationary notebooks and loved the result,” she said.

X put them up for sale on Instagram in 2016 and sold 1,200 in 24 hours.

“And so I immediately thought, well, do I want to stay in school or do I want to run this business full time? So I decided to drop out of school. and run the business full time,” she said.

Be Kind Gallery 3

On Wednesday, original artwork and clothing for sale are on display at the Be Kind Gallery, founded by Stability X, in the Allied Arts building in downtown Lynchburg.

Photo by Kendall Warner, The News & Advance

When she moved to Lynchburg last year from Lafayette, Louisiana, she decided to open an art gallery that would showcase both art and notebooks.

“I’ve been fascinated by the downtown rejuvenations that I’m seeing happening all over the country, especially right now when everyone wants to be close to everything,” she said. “When I noticed this space was ready to move in, and it’s the Allied Arts building and it already has so much art history, it’s an art deco building, and it has so many artistic feelings that I felt like it was the right space to be.

The 1930s art deco building, designed by architect Stanhope Johnson, is an iconic landmark of the city, with its base made of green stone sourced from local quarries. Stone is heavily used both inside and outside the building.

Heath Barret, vice president of membership development at the Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance, said that by showcasing works by talented local artists, Be Kind Gallery is a great place to find art for the home or office. .

“This veteran-owned gallery also has bespoke notebooks for sale and a library to draw inspiration from,” he said.

Matthew Sir Robertson, of abstract artist Sir, said he wanted his works to be displayed in Be Kind Gallery 101 because from the moment he first walked in at the opening he was welcomed and welcomed into space like family.

“I had the pleasure of meeting Stability and her husband, John, and we talked for hours about art, process and life experiences,” he said. “Be Kind Gallery 101 offers a unique gallery experience that is different from the traditional art gallery showcasing multiple art forms, while providing a safe and inclusive place for artists to create, reflect and collaborate.”

Be Kind Gallery 4

On Wednesday, original artwork and clothing for sale are on display at the Be Kind Gallery, founded by Stability X, in the Allied Arts building in downtown Lynchburg.

Photo by Kendall Warner, The News & Advance

At this time, X is not hosting any special exhibitions, just allowing artists to bring their art.

Some people think they have to have an art degree to make art, or even buy it, but X disagrees.

“I want this to be this stepping stone, and if you know absolutely nothing, come in, because I never went to art school, but this whole wall is mine,” she said, pointing part of the Gallery.

Many abstract pieces hang on the wall as well as art therapy pieces created by X when she was going through a custody battle.

Instead of writing down how she felt, she created artwork documenting the experience. Some pieces use recycled and reclaimed materials.

X is biracial; her mother is white and her father is black. She said she has always struggled with her identity and how she is accepted in society.

“So mixed media really spoke to me because I was able to take different pieces and create a unique piece,” she said. “It reminds me so much of my childhood, and I’ve incorporated that into my art instead of just using paints, acrylics, oils, and pastels. I cut out magazines. I sew fabric onto canvas. is something a lot of galleries don’t usually display.

Despite her obstacles, X says she is always there in the community, giving and serving.

“There are veterans coming back from service and they need those opportunities and luckily I had the opportunity to show the community what veterans can really do when they come back from service. And even with a disability, they can still do a lot,” she said.

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