Go, Blue!*

Roberta visits brand new gallery, Cerulean Arts, just off North Broad St. near the Divine Lorraine.

Michael Kowbuz, Tina Rocha
Michael Kowbuz and Tina Rocha, proprietors of the new Cerulean Gallery on Ridge Ave. near Broad and Fairmount.

Michael Kowbuz and Tina Rocha bought the three-story building at 1355 Ridge Ave. two years ago and had a lot of work to do on it (the floor in the gallery space needed replacing due to termite damage). But Tina’s an architect and she designed what they wanted and with help from Clifton “Cliff Cliff” Grant, their next door neighbor whose Blues club is slated to open soon, they attacked the space and came up with something gorgeous — light and airy and with a lovely big park-like rear garden in which they hope to put a pond.

back garden
The backyard with a big Powlonia tree and room for a pond.

Kowbuz, Director of Continuing Education at PAFA and himself a PAFA alum (MFA, 1996) will be offering drawing lessons out of the back space starting in January and speaking of the back, the gallery’s large front room opens on a slightly smaller space that is a crafts boutique in the rear.

front space
Looking towards the front door.

The inaugural show is a group show celebrating the 10-year anniversary of Kowbuz’s PAFA graduating class. Works by some of the town’s power players (Pew fellows and Fleisher Challenge winners) dot the walls. Here’s who’s in the show:

Astrid Bowlby, Pat Boyer, Eric Brown, John Bybee, Alexander Cheves, Michael Kowbuz, Nancy Lewis, Yuri Makoveychuk, Meg McDevitt, Hiro Sakaguchi, Mark Shetabi and Kevin Strickland.

Hiro Sakaguchi
Hiro Sakaguchi painting. Flower, preying mantis and airplane. nice

Cerulean is, of course, a favorite color of the couple’s. In addition, Rocha said she liked how nicely the word rolls off the tongue. It’s their brand and pops up in their logo, on the building’s exterior and in the ceiling.

Looking back towards the gift shop area.

The exhibition program is not locked down yet but the pair said they’d have six-week shows, not month-long. Artists who will be featured in upcoming solo or group shows are Sara Roche, Alexander Cheves, Jeffrey Tritt, Binod Shrestha, Hiro Sakaguchi. and Yuri Makoveychuk.

Yuri Makoveychuk
Small oil on unstretched linen mounted on foamcore by Yuri Makoveychuk from his series on experiments.

Makoveychuck, a native of Ukraine, has another series of works that Kowbuz and Rocha are eager to show — a disaster series.

Yuri Makoveychuk
This piece of Makoveychuk’s, from the current show, could well be from a disaster series — it shows a group of buildings imploding.

I asked about what the building had been previously and Rocha and Kowbuz said that it had been a dance studio (Las Cicos?) for 30 years, and that previously it had been used either in the textile business or as a union hall (or both). This part of the North Broad St. corridor is being rejuvenated with several big condo buildings proposed. The large icon on Broad, the Divine Lorraine Hotel, will be turned into student/affordable condos for the Temple crowd. Other condo projects are going up in the neighborhood and the Cerulean couple is hopeful that where there are residents there will be cafes, maybe a Trader Joe’s and other neighborhood amenities.

crable quinn.jpg
Michigan linebacker Shawn Crable (2) comforts Notre Dame quarterback
Brady Quinn (10) after another disastrous play. Photo caption courtesy of Max.

*Go, Blue! by the way, is what you say when you’re a University of Michigan football fan rooting for your team. Michigan beat arch-rival Notre Dame 47-21 on Saturday, something I know because Max, (UM, 2005) and his buddies were sprawled on the living room floor watching, at times anxiously,…as the Wolverines finally pulled it off.

Go, Cerulean!
Cerulean Arts, 1355 Ridge Ave. 215.514.8647