Prestige pop: Downtown Arlington's first pop-up gallery series

You’ve heard of pop art. Have you heard of pop-up art? On February 3, you can discover it for yourself when Arlington’s first pop-up gallery series will launch in Downtown Arlington. The inaugural pop-up gallery will feature a collection of works by renowned artist and painter, Donray.

Christopher Hightower Gallery strives to fulfill a missing piece for artists and collectors as well as the community.

“I want to foster love for fine art and original art by helping people connect to art in a way they’ve never been able to do before, right here in our community,” said Chris Hightower, founder of Christopher Hightower Gallery. “Most well-known local collectors fall into art, and they end up loving it. Art should be accessible to everyone, so whether you’re a seasoned collector or someone who may feel intimidated by the art world, this gallery is for you.”

Dreams into reality

When the gallery opens, Chris will be making a long-held dream come true. But his vision didn’t begin with a pop-up series concept.

Chris Hightower“I’ve been researching galleries for some time now,” said Chris, who is also the executive director of the Arlington Museum of Art. “My mind was originally set on a traditional space with a traditional sensibility, but I came to realize that kind of gallery can be limiting. A static space doesn’t always lend itself to a variety of artists, styles or media. For example, a 3-dimensional sculpture show requires lots of floor space, while a photography show may only require linear footage of wall space.”

Informed by his knowledge of the current state of the arts, Chris also recognizes that art market is experiencing a major disruption, particularly in the way art is conveyed from the artist to the collector.

“Pop-ups are popular in large cities like New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles,” said Chris, “so I took some inspiration from those models. It's a good way to find the right space for the art while providing a service for collectors. And we can do it in innovative, fresh ways.”

Pop the question 

“Downtown Arlington is an excellent choice for pop-up gallerists and, more broadly, pop-up retailers,” said Aldo Fritz, President and CEO of Downtown Arlington Management Corporation. “The residential density of Downtown is steadily on the rise as are the number of unique restaurants, pubs, and retailers. We’re home to one of biggest and finest research university in the state, The University of Texas at Arlington, which in part fuels our growing number of start-ups and co-working ventures. And, like many urban centers in transition, we still have affordable spaces that are either dormant or underutilized, which is ideal for pop-up enterprises."

A pop-up gallery is by definition a venue that is temporary. In the same vein, Christopher Hightower Gallery will "pop up" in different spaces around Downtown Arlington according to the needs of the artist and art represented in each exhibition.

“I’m thrilled to bring amazing artists to Arlington and the North Texas region,” said Chris. “I’ll be working with some of the best artists from around the country, including New York City, Santa Fe and Texas. Our community is ready for the excitement that a pop-up fine art gallery will provide.”

Concierge to the art world

Although he would never say so himself, Chris is a bit of a renaissance man. In addition to his role with the Arlington Museum of Art and his “day job” as Assistant Director for Institutional Effectiveness at Texas Christian University, his background includes a successful career in real estate. How have those aggregated experiences informed his decision to open a gallery?

“First, I have a passion for education, including educating people about art, art history and artists,” Chris explained. “I'm a context person, and I believe that providing context really helps art come alive.

“Second, most people probably think that my connection to real estate and art is the sales aspect, and to a certain extent, that’s true,” said Chris. “But what has impacted me the most from working in real estate is seeing people's homes, their decor and their artwork. People take their surroundings very seriously. They spend a lot of energy choosing the right colors and furniture. Why not take the same care to invest in fine art, which unlike generic wall decor, has real value?

“Finally, my experience with the Museum has shown me that most people want to love art,” he continued. “People come ready to embrace art, but very often they want someone to help them connect with it. Art should be accessible to everyone, and this is my opportunity to share my love of art and admiration for artists with my community.”

Meet the artist

Donray

Donray, born and raised in Houston and now living in Deep Ellum, is an artist who’s difficult to categorize and prefers it that way. His life-long passion for art was fueled early by his mother, then later more formally at the world-famous Art

Students League of New York in New York City. He’s exhibited in galleries internationally including London, Washington, D.C., New York City, Dallas and Houston, and has been collected by many notables including actor Johnny Depp and Bob McNair, the owner of the Houston Texans.

“We’re lucky to have Donray living in our community,” said Chris. “Ranker.com ranked him 16 out of 101 in a list of Famous Expressionist Artists that also includes Vincent van Gogh, Edvard Munch, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee and Marc Chagall. He's in some pretty good company.”

Christopher Hightower Gallery presents

Donray at Christopher Hightower Gallery

200 East Division Street, Downtown Arlington

southeast corner of Mesquite and Division across the street from Grease Monkey

Public opening on Saturday, February 3, 2018 from 6-9:00 p.m.

Wine and cheese will be served

Please RSVP via the Facebook event

To schedule an appointment for preview/purchase opportunities prior to the opening event, contact Chris Hightower at 817-946-1402.

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About Downtown Arlington

An official State of Texas Cultural District, Downtown Arlington, Texas blends a unique mix of activities, sights, tastes and sounds that attract visitors and locals alike. Within its less than a two-mile radius, Downtown is home to a top tier public research university, prolific fine and performing artists and arts institutions, live entertainment, exciting NCAA and professional athletics, one-of-a-kind dining and retail, and a supportive business climate.