Artist and gallery owner Bale Creek Allen has big plans for his adopted home of Fort Worth. The long-time Austinite recently moved to Granbury.
“My wife grew up in Granbury,” Allen said. “We were visiting her folks and relatives. My youngest son just graduated high school. I always knew that once the kids were gone, it was a green light to shift gears.”
After decades of work as a multidisciplinary artist and gallery owner in Austin, Allen said the transition to Fort Worth was easy.
“Downtown Fort Worth, in a way, reminds me of Austin 30 years ago,” said. “I don’t know how to explain it. It has a feel like something’s brewing here.”
This Saturday (7-10 pm) marks the grand opening of Bale Creek Allen Gallery at 400 Houston St that features works by Allen and contemporary art from well-known national and international visual artists. Allen said he has around 30 artists in his roster, and that number is growing.
Allen credits his decades of success in Austin to the quality of the work that he presented.
“I’m about doing shows that are meaningful and thought-provoking with really strong art,” he said. “If you do that consistently, the rest takes care of itself.”
Allen also loves to keep his followers guessing. Once he settles in, the veteran artist plans to program community poetry readings, music, and other fun events at his new space. Rather serendipitously, Bale Creek Allen Gallery neighbors the studio/gallery of local painter Jay Wilkinson. That space, Dang Good Candy, features an opening show by photographer Mike Lopez this Saturday.
“Jay is an amazing painter,” Allen said. We are brainstorming if we can collaborate on a “first Friday event. How can we maximize and cross-pollinate our followings? That’s exciting to think about.”
Allen said he plans to present bi-monthly solo or group shows. The layout of his new space allows for an “inner” gallery that can showcase featured artist pieces while the outer walls are reserved for Allen’s expansive collections of work that include photos, sculptures, paintings, and neon and wood artworks.
Artists, he said, are often faced with the false dichotomy of either being an independent artist or running a gallery. He hopes the Bale Creek Allen Gallery model shows young artists that owning a business while pushing oneself artistically offers another viable career path for creatives.
On Saturday evening, expect free booze (compliments of Milam and Greene Whiskies, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, and Coeur Cause Wines), DJ entertainment, and recent works by Allen, Kiki Smith, Gary Wong, Bettina Hubby, Gary Sweeney, and others.