The Railroad Square Art District is a thriving piece of Tallahassee that is home to numerous galleries, eateries and stores. There, you will also find a gallery comprised of tin, with the large yellow numbers “621.” Although, the outside does not seem too impressive, what is on the inside sparks the interest in 621 Gallery from art enthusiasts in the community.
Founded in 1981 by Nan Boynton, 621 Gallery is a non-profit art exhibition and program space that offers innovative and progressive contemporary art.
“621 was inherited by Nan Boynton, and it was an old railroad warehouse. She had a dream of making warehouse into a community of artists, and so it really started as a space for artists to work together,” said Brittany Watkins, Board of Directors president and exhibition coordinator.
The gallery’s diverse art exhibits continuously draw crowds of eager onlookers.
621 Gallery collaborates with different artists from the southeast region to provide a thought-provoking exhibition season for all who visit.
The gallery realized its past shortcomings in terms of inclusivity and has made an active effort over the years to combat that problem.
“We’ve tried to improve that (inclusivity), it wasn’t something that was on the consciousness of the gallery, always,” Watkins said. “I don’t think that it was anyone’s intent. But you have to be aware of these things and actively make a point to have inclusivity.”
It is safe to say that the effort by 621 Gallery has propelled its impact to new heights.
On Feb. 1, at the First Friday Gallery Hop, an event that occurs on the first friday of every month, 621 Gallery collaborated with R&V Art House to showcase the country of India’s stories.
R&V Art House is a firm founded by Vijita Ningombam and Robin Wahengbam that serves as a platform for Manipuri artists.
The exhibition, entitled “Voices from the Land of Polo,” featured pieces created by 30 artists from Manipur, India.
“This was a part of a project that we did from India. We collected 30 artists from our state and each painting represents one artist,” R&V Art House co-founder Ningombam said.
The paintings told their own special story about different occurrences and injustices taking place in India.
“We have a theme behind this whole exhibition that we had today, which was social issues, critical issues released through the public, and environmental issues,” said Ningombam.
Through the eyes of the artists who reside there, onlookers were provided a glance of India, through their work.
“I found the exhibit to be insightful. Sometimes in America we can be so stuck in what is going on with ourselves that we often do not take into consideration what is going on in other parts of the world,” said visitor Ebony Ivey, a recent FAMU graduate.
For the month of February art enthusiasts in the Tallahassee community can visit the 621 Gallery at anytime to view the monthly exhibitions.
Exhibitions for this month are brought to you by the artists, Ry McCullough, John Chang, and Florida A&M University art professor, Joe Roache.