For artists looking for a venue to showcase their work, and for art lovers hunting for a place to find treasures, the search is not always as easy as 1-2-3.
Fortunately, it is as easy as 321.
Located in the heart of downtown Hollidaysburg, 321 Gallery is a haven for beautiful and unique creations by local artists.
“It’s a labor of love,” explained Chabela Grab, who – along with her husband and son – owns and operates the community gem.
Grab and her husband hail from Argentina. The couple came to the United States 47 years ago.
Her husband, a physician, was seeking an internship at the time.
They ended up in the Altoona area 44 years ago and fortunately made it their home.
Chabela was an attorney in Argentina, and she taught Spanish in the Altoona Area School District.
The family owned space at 321 Allegheny Street in Hollidaysburg for many years and eventually decided to make it a gallery. Up and running for more than five years now, it is one of a handful of sites dedicated to exclusively showcasing local art.
“We try to show everything that we can in our gallery,” Chabela said. “We have wonderful painters, people who do beautiful ceramics, and artistic jewelry.”
Chabela’s son, Pete, is a co-owner and runs the daily operations.
“My mom and I decided we needed to have a place for artists to come in and show their work,” he stated. “Each show lasts three to four months, so they have plenty of time to have their art on display.”
Pete highlights some of the featured work daily on the 321 Gallery Facebook page.
This month, the gallery is presenting impressive works from students of all ages in the Hollidaysburg Area School District – a great collaboration that has happened for the past several years.
“From the moment they come in with their art work, they are in full charge of how they want to display it,” Pete mentioned, stressing that any of it is for sale if students are interested in selling.
“They are wonderful artists, and some of them will continue in the future painting or drawing,” added Chabela. “I think it’s a great experience for them and the community.”
Abraham Onkst will be the next featured artist at 321. He is a Hollidaysburg Area High School student whose work, according to Pete, is reminiscent of Jackson Pollock. Onkst’s art will be highlighted for three months beginning in February. A reception to celebrate the opening is scheduled for February 22.
Unlike the HASD pieces, which are prominent throughout the entire gallery, the work of featured artists is typically at the front of the site, and other artists are exhibited in other spots.
“We have featured artists, but we try to give everybody a fair share of wall space,” Pete emphasized. “We also have window displays that we rotate almost on a weekly basis, so everybody really has a good opportunity to have their work shown.”
Chabela’s and Pete’s appreciation for art is evident, along with their dedication to supporting local artists and enriching the area arts scene.
“For five years being here, it still amazes me – just working with the artists and seeing the reaction from the community,” Pete mentioned. “Many people still don’t know that we’re here, so we’re still a well-kept secret. The word is still getting out there, and we’re doing things with the community every once in a while. I love it!”
Offered Chabela: “The more art we show, it becomes part of everyone’s life. It makes us better people.”