Norfolk's Kick Start Art Gallery will open its doors on Nov. 17 in Ghent, and unlike other galleries in the city, the vibrant space isn't strictly contemporary, but is rather a lively mix of classical art pieces from the early 19th century to bold and colorful pieces of modern-day Pop Art. Kick Start Art Gallery will also feature an art café serving art-inspired menu items including light hors d’oeuvres, pastries, wine and cocktails.
Owner Chris Belin founded Kick Start Art Gallery with the hopes of promoting the outstanding creative talents of local and regional painters, sculptors and mixed media artists in a positive and supportive environment. “My vision is for Kick Start Art Gallery to be more than just a gallery of art, but a place where people can meet to discuss their visions, discover their creativeness and promote themselves through art and conversation.”
A surprise exhibit is in the works for Kick Start Art Gallery’s grand opening, but Belin shared with us the names and collections of various artists that will be showcased in the gallery this upcoming year. Portraits and mixed media pieces from as far as Houston-based Defined Arts to Washington, D.C.’s Stephanie Kiah will be featured alongside works created by Amy Fox, Jasmine Walker, L. Pernell and other Virginia artists. Belin plans to rotate the gallery’s pieces every three months, giving a large population of creative professionals the opportunity to build their brands and showcase their pieces.
Belin plans to incorporate the works of local and regional artists into the four themed collections the gallery will display next year. The four themed exhibitions include the Trap Art Collection, Art + Sneaker Collection, American Art & Me and Spring Collection. Many pieces displayed during each exhibition will be available for purchase through Kick Start Art Gallery. Belin notes that the price range of for-purchase art will be inclusive for both first-time art collectors and sophisticated buyers.
Left: Artwork by Jasmine Walker. Right: Artwork by Defined Arts.
Another factor that separates Kick Start Art Gallery from other showrooms in the Ghent area is the gallery’s versatile functionality. Kick Start Art Gallery will not only serve as a suave art gallery, special event destination, retail space and art café, but as a platform to promote Art Therapy as well.
Belin’s interest in Art Therapy stems from his experience as a mental health professional. In addition to running the gallery, Belin also serves as CEO of Crestar Health, a Norfolk-based counseling service for underprivileged youth. “Art Therapy is a concept that takes Art as a way to express [the] different emotions a person may [experience],” explains Belin. “I have found that art is soothing and lets people express themselves in positive ways.”
Belin and his counseling professionals at Crestar Health are working together to design youth art activities such as book readings, creative writing classes and summer camps. “[As] the son of a school teacher, I have a passion to teach and help others, and the gallery gives me a chance to reach out and help even more.”
Kick Start Art Gallery is located at 117 E. Princess Anne Road, Norfolk and will host its Grand Opening Auction Charity event, The ART of Giving, on Friday, Nov.17 from 5–10 p.m. For the most up-to-date information on gallery hours and exhibits, visit KickStartArtGallery.com.