As we noted here at BCR a couple of months back, new art gallery LabourLove is set for its grand opening in Scientific Properties' Golden Belt development on E. Main St. – the first retail business to arrive in the historic factory redevelopment.
LabourLove's owners will hold their grand opening in the space this Friday, May 15 from 6pm to 9pm.
The grand opening celebration will feature the Cadillac Stepbacks, an area bluegrass band, and a free, limited-edition Giclée art prints for the first 50 visitors. Also present: the always-popular OnlyBurger and Sabor taco trucks and desserts from Daisy Cakes, plus local brewmaster Jason Salemme.
Co-owner John Pelphrey describes his new business as an art gallery “for the people.” While some galleries prefer to do the ‘ultra-high-end museum thing’ just fine, Pelphrey describes LabourLove as seeking to be more relaxed and open.
LabourLove’s name comes from the old saying that “art is a labor of love” – while also recognizing the textile manufacturing history of the Golden Belt site, something the “Labour” tag does well.
LabourLove is the result of years of personal saving and business planning on the parts of the owners. The entire gallery is funded from their own pockets. Pelphrey notes that he and his family are going all in for the business.
“I cashed in my 401(k) for this,” Pelphrey joked, noting that for a small business like his to be successful, a proprietor has do decide to go all-in or not start up at all.
The gallery will sell original artwork by Pelphrey’s wife and co-owner Kelly Dew, a graduate of the Art Institute of Chicago. Other artists work will be on display regularly, beginning at the opening with artists Luke Miller Buchanan and Kevin McGoff.
Pelphrey and and Dew live in Hillsborough with their two-year-old son.
Pelphrey’s professional background has varied from the music business and to the pharmaceutical industry, a diverse set of experiences which he notes has been valuable experience in getting a new business off the ground.
In addition to selling art, LabourLove will offer arts lessons for children, consultation, installation services, T-shirts and merchandising sales, furniture and upholstering.
Additionally, the gallery will have a full-service retail and merchandise website which Pelphrey hopes will allow the gallery to reach and market to clients and contacts all over the country.
LabourLove will offer customizable silkscreen print Alternative Apparel T-shirts where the customer chooses the print, colors, and size, and the gallery will press the shirt on the spot.
Pelphrey notes that this diverse mix of businesses is one way for the gallery to have a wide range of options to earn revenue in what's otherwise a difficult economic time.
He notes that although negotiating with landlords always has stops and starts, Scientific Properties has been extremely helpful and welcoming to his business, and that the developer has offered media contacts and marketing savvy to help open the gallery.
Pelphrey describes Durham in general, and Golden Belt in particular, as an up and coming hub for art not only in the Triangle but for all of North Carolina and the Southeast, and hopes that LabourLove will contribute something new and different to the blossoming scene.
That said, the LabourLove that bows this Friday will not be a finished product quite yet. Pelphrey notes that the gallery’s other services and exhibitions will be added in phases over the coming months, as the gallery looks to offer unique, hip, and inexpensive products to the younger creative class that has been emerging in Durham over the past few years.