ATLANTIC CITY — It was a night of celebration at Tanger Outlets The Walk Friday night as artists were featured as part of a pop-up gallery.
Artists stood by their pieces, interacting with the crowd, while attendees enjoyed a glass of wine and a night of art appreciation.
The new installation, called ARTeriors, was presented by the Atlantic City Arts Foundation at Michigan and Arctic avenues and will be open to the public every Saturday and Sunday through the rest of the month.
Joyce Hagen, executive director of the foundation, said the gallery helps showcase local artists in a space they may not regularly be able to use.
“It’s an opportunity (for artists) to create something either on the scale that they haven’t been able to work on before or to just develop a 3-D concept,” she said.
One artist had a large mural of a crying child up on the wall. Another had a suspended ladder in the middle of the gallery.
Nastassia Davis, of Atlantic City, decided to create large papier-mache eggs in front of a photo of her being hatched in an egg. The idea of the art was to exemplify Davis coming into her own as a person and to shed any ideas holding her back.
It was the first time Davis had done such a multidimensional presentation. She said she hopes more galleries similar to the Tanger space are available to artists in the city.
“To be able to create is therapeutic. When I’m not creating, I’m very depressed. These programs are important because it brings culture to Atlantic City and brings the city a sense of art,” Davis said.
“We need more of this in the city,” said Third Ward Councilman Kaleem Shabazz, who was in attendance Friday night at the gallery, of the exhibit. “We have tremendous artists who are very creative. This is an aspect of the city we want to expand more. We want to work with them, and this could be a tourist attraction and something for local people to help create and foster arts in the city.”
The galleries are also an opportunity to show off vacant properties to prospective tenants in the city.
ARTeriors hosted a similar gallery in 2015 at a vacant property on Tennessee Avenue. That spot will soon be home to the MaDe Atlantic City Chocolate Bar. Another gallery was hosted at the former Ginsburg Bakery, which is now being considered as a location to house equipment and offices for the Special Improvement Division of the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority.
“It’s an opportunity for in-transition properties to be highlighted and shown off,” said Evan Sanchez, founder of This Is AC.
Though the current gallery on Tanger Outlet does not have a new tenant, Sanchez said events like the opening night of the installation could change that.
“It’s an opportunity to show the property, and then people get eyes on it and then see it as something else. That’s the goal,” Sanchez said.
Joyce Hagen said this idea is not new for other cities.
“Artists are eager to move into spaces no one else wants. This is just Atlantic City’s reinvention of the kinds of projects happening elsewhere,” she said.