This Friday’s “Art Hop” marks a special occasion for gallery owner and artist Allison McEvers Pratt. The Hop will commemorate her one year anniversary for opening the doors to her downtown Jacksonville space, 2nine Gallery & Studio, suitably named for its location at 29 South Central Park Plaza.
Indeed, the gallery is a maturation of her dreams. Pratt asserts that “You do not have to be a starving artist. It’s how I make a living. It’s my driving force.” Her dream became a reality on June 1, 2013, and since opening, Pratt says she has been pleasantly successful in this venture to turn her artistic love and career into an established business front. She is fortunate to have the support in a smaller town and enjoys staying active in the art community that we do have. “I knew I wanted to do this. I’ve always been on a different path.”
Her path, though, has always followed art. Even as a young child says Pratt, “I knew that it would make me happy. It was something that could make hours pass and I didn’t know that time has passed. I’d sit and color an entire coloring book.” She has evolved into a professional artist that is capable of much more creatively, but I would venture to say that she would still find joy in filling the pages of a coloring book; her energy and obvious passion for art when you mean her supports just that. Art can be a therapy for things that don’t matter. At a recent class she taught, Pratt asked a young teen what he liked about art, and she said his reply was – It just makes me happy. Pratt still smiled when she retold the tale.
2nine Gallery & Studio holds her own current paintings on its walls, but Pratt also attends many events or art shows, conducive to selling her paintings to collectors across the country. And though her business is indeed a business, the sale is also a delight found by linking a patron to a piece of art; “That’s a joy for me – to bring the sparkle, a smile, the happiness – when a person connects with one of my pieces, when they almost get lost in a piece,” adds Pratt.
Of course, the accompanying half to the gallery is the studio. Pratt teaches classes for artists or aspiring artists of all ages. Kids can attend a variety of classes, involving watercolors, clay, oil pastels or even YogART. Many classes have a counterpart available for adults, and Pratt schedules additionally a “Meet for coffee” and “Paint n Pour” for the artists who are young at heart. She also has studio times available for open creating. “When I teach classes,” says Pratt, “the joy I get is bringing the inner child to life in a child or in an adult when they participate in a class and remember a true passion from their childhood.”
Pratt publicly celebrates her one year anniversary with 2nine Gallery & Studio this Friday, June 6, from 5pm – 7:30pm during the June Art Hop. Pratt voices that “Having my own studio and gallery allows me to do something different every day. I think the more creative energy we have in this town, the better.” She is “living a dream” – in color.