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Gallery brings community to local artists.

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Photo: Gallery Lombardi
Photo: Gallery Lombardi

Photo: Gallery LombardiAustin has a thriving, vibrant arts scene, largely because of community groups who take risks in supporting up-and-coming artists. One of these is Gallery Lombardi. Founded in 1996 by artist Ron Prince, the gallery is known for showcasing a diverse array of artwork from a variety of local artists.

"We are on the cutting edge of what mainstream galleries are doing. I think because we are trying to be a voice for the community," says curator Rachel Koper. "We do open our doors to political artwork, naked artwork, to things that sometimes business owners will shy away from. I find it interesting. I think the dialogues that come out of discussing the pros and cons of the viewpoints in the pictures is fascinating and interesting."

Arists are grateful for the support the gallery provides.

Photo: Gallery Lombardi"Gallery Lombardi stands out because they take more risks -- their themes, their promotion of the community at pivotal times," says artist Suze Kemper. "I think they work very very hard to make sure austin and the people who come to visit austin are well aware of what's going on artistically within the community, and I think they do a great job of promoting it."

Ryah Christensen, another local artist, agrees.

"I think it's unique because a lot of artists feel very supported by Gallery Lombardi -- and I mean a huge amount of artists feel supported by this place," she says. "I feel like we have not only a professional bond but a friendly relationship with Rachel and Ron and the space itself that's been a great place for artists to come together and meet each other . . . it hosts so many different functions Photo: Gallery Lombardibesides traditional art functions."

Unlike most galleries, Gallery Lombardi doesn't just promote the works of artists -- it promotes a bond among them.

"I know that if I connect with this gallery and I show my work, I'm going to be in contact with so many different types of artists," says artist Julie Freedman. "Working artists -- people that I can get to know on a more intimate basis and exchange ideas and stay involved and engaged with an artistic community, and I really like that about this gallery."


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