Art pieces propped against the walls at the new Love ~ Art ~ Repeat art gallery will be hung for opening day on Monday, March 1. Many pieces, like these, deliver messages that highlight current events, but any work by local artists is welcome on the walls.

Image: Kim Doleatto

The new Love ~ Art ~ Repeat gallery stands out as a unique addition to a city touted for its arts scene. Located on Central Avenue in the Rosemary District, Greg Cruz took over the roughly 1,000-square-foot space to celebrate local artists, host community events and connect people.

“We want to give local artists a platform to create their own narrative," he says. "We want to be good shareholders of the community."

Love ~ Art ~ Repeat falls under the umbrella of Streets of Paradise, a Sarasota nonprofit Cruz founded with a mission to help rehouse those without homes and to distribute free, hot meals and more. Formerly called Madeby, a shop that featured works by Ringling College of Art and Design students and alumni, the space has small spotlights to highlight art and glossy, polished, paint-splattered concrete floors, plus high ceilings and lots of natural light.

“From doing what we do with Streets of Paradise, we meet so many talented volunteers and people, so we wanted to create a way for them to show their art and earn some money too,” he says.

A knitted remake of the famed Bernie Sanders meme by local resident Raquel Carlson is among the pieces that will be on display at The Love ~ Art ~ Repeat art gallery.

Image: Kim Doleatto

Brandon Thrift, the “Spread Love” street artist, and @eyesnerart are among the first to show their vibrant, eye-catching pieces. Cruz says he's open to prospective artists as long as the work is “meaningful and current.

Cruz plans to collect almost no commission and to let the artists set their own prices. Each piece will be accompanied by a short biography, revealing a story that adds value to the pieces. From photography to knitting and sculpture, there are no limitations. On the lower part of the walls, Cruz plans to hang art by children, for children, so even kids can claim artistic space in a place often considered a kid-free zone.

Beyond art, plans are in the works to also use the space for a weekly yoga class, canvas printing, a kid’s hip hop class and whatever other ideas get thrown Cruz's way.

“Front and center, this is a community thing and we're not going to price anyone out,” he says.

The gallery is located at 734 Central Ave., Sarasota, and is slated to open Monday, March 1. On opening day, the gallery will be open 3-7 p.m. and will feature light bites and a DJ. Normal business hours will be 10 a.m.-2 Monday and Wednesday-Saturday. Email [email protected] for opportunities to show your art, pitch an idea or connect.>

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