Hiding in Plain Sight: ATOM Space

Last week, Liz and I took a walk and poked into ATOM Space: downtown Hartford’s only (that I know of) pop-up gallery space.

The project started months ago in the former ATM space attached to our office complex at 100 Pearl Street. Local artist David Borawski’s installation exhibit, “It’s Only a Game if You Win,”  the first-ever ATOM showing, became the gallery’s last in its former location when the building leased the office space to a new tenant. Ever plucky, the gallery managers moved a few blocks away to the abandoned “Chinatown” storefront on Pratt Street, and have since put on two additional exhibitions in their new home.

Borawski’s “It’s Only a Game if You Win”

ATOM is the latest “guerilla” exhibition gallery in Hartford, a found space right in the heart of downtown. Each gallery show represents a selection of work from local artists—many of whom are good friends of the Arts Council. Liz and I caught the latest show, “As It Ever Was,” featuring work by artists Anne Cubberly, Barbara Hocker (she showed in the 100 Pearl Street Gallery last year), Nina Salazar (she created a sculptural martini glass for our ARTini event last fall), Howard el-Yasin, Gene Gort, Carol Padberg, Patrick Schmidt, Gil Scullion, and
Dave Sinaguglia.

It’s a cool space and a very cool exhibit. Take a look at some of the pictures below and get a feel for the artwork—but believe me, it’s worth seeing in person.

My favorite thing about the whole ATOM concept is the idea that art can flourish almost anywhere. You don’t need a museum, or even a dedicated high-brow gallery space to show excellent artwork; old storefronts, abandoned buildings and even busy street corners can be the perfect place to display local art.

If you’re in downtown Hartford, consider stopping by on a lunch break or during a coffee run to see what ATOM has to offer. Hopefully this is the sign of things to come. Hartford certainly isn’t short of empty retail space—perhaps this can be an enduring solution.

Want to learn more about ATOM? Check out their participator site.