The Grackle

Observations, Reflections and Miscellany from the Wacoan

New Gallery on the Block 

Washington Gallery brings high-end art to Waco 

4 weeks ago

By Avery Ballmann

Ten years ago, Alan Scott was playing in the driveway with his children when the horseplay got a little out of hand and Scott found himself lying on the concrete with a broken hip. As the sole breadwinner of the family, Scott knew this injury would keep him from work, because the majority of his job required him to be on top of a ladder. Scott was an art installer for people’s homes and galleries in Southern California, but now, he has made the move to Waco to live a slower-paced life. And he just so happens to own an art gallery on one of Waco’s most popular streets.  

Washington Gallery is located at 715 Washington Ave., Scott overtook the old Texas Music Cafe — which relocated to Sixth St. — a dark music venue with black ceilings but great lighting. As Scott drove around Waco looking for buildings for lease, he saw the potential in this space. He peeked into the abandoned building and immediately saw an art gallery he called the realtor and booked a tour the next day.  

 “It never really occurred to me to open an art gallery in Southern California because I would be competing with all my friends. There was no space for me,” Scott said.  

In Scott’s art world in California, he was notoriously known for his reputation of being the careful, meticulous art installer and designer for his clients. Most of Scott’s clients or ‘competitors’ were his friends, so he said he didn’t feel right opening a gallery in his previous home state. But there are also challenges for an art gallery here that Scott was considering. 

“Could the community support a high-end gallery? When I was putting my business plan together, [I realized] its not just the community, it’s the whole country,” Scott said. “I could sell to anybody in the country and with [Hotel 1928] being next door, we have patrons from all over.” 

When the building’s physical doors weren’t open yet, its virtual doors were, and the gallery sold several pieces; including “Graceful Diver” an ethereal depiction of a female diver launching herself into the unknown from artist T.S. Harris.  

 

 

“It is absolutely the best feeling in the world. I feel like I have the greatest job on the planet because not only does it fill my soul to be in the studio working,” Harris said. “But when I do a painting, and then it feels like it has a life of its own and it goes out there and reaches a client; then I feel like that completes the circle.” 

Scott is bringing art into the gallery from all over the country and Waco: Ft. Worth, California, a Baylor Professor, his wife Kattya Scott and an artist he found at the Waco Downtown Farmers Market. But Scott isn’t just planning on displaying their art. He wants to help new artists in this industry that he has been a part of for years.   

“I know a lot about the business of art because I’ve seen art from the artist standpoint, from the gallery standpoint, from museum standpoint, and from collectors standpoint,” Scott said. “I know the business of how that trail goes from budding artists to successful and making a living at this. I felt I can offer that.” 

The Washington Gallery houses a Youth Artist section that features young and new artists in the Waco area, subject to Scott’s approval. Scott hopes and plans to give the youth artist 100 percent of the proceeds if their art is sold, which never happens in art galleries. Oftentimes children’s art is stuck on the fridge with a magnet and is never recognized at a higher level, rather than other popular children’s activities such as dance and sports that have an opportunity to showcase their talent.  

“There isnt a recital for them,” Scott said. “There’s no place where any kid at any age can just hang up their art, and get accolades for the art.” 

Scott sees the Youth Artist section as a way for him to give back to the community and teach the basics of composing a piece of art in a professional way. Another aspect of the gallery that the public can enjoy is its selections of prints and books Scott has hand-picked to inspire anyone who walks through the gallery doors. From books about West Texas, Frida Kahalo, Vintage Cars, cocktails and more, Scott wants to bridge the gap from affordable to high-end art galleries.  

The Washington Gallery is having their ribbon-cutting ceremony at 4 p.m. on May 23 at the gallery and their Grand Opening ceremony on May 24 at 6 p.m. Its current exhibit, “Road Trip to Waco” is Scott’s commemoration of his journey from Southern California to our town which he now calls home.