First Fridays on the Avenue just got a lift with the addition of an art-infused happy hour at NoName Gallery, 8127 Germantown Ave., next to Laurel Gardens.
First Fridays on the Avenue just got a lift with the addition of an art-infused happy hour at NoName Gallery, 8127 Germantown Ave., next to Laurel Gardens. The gallery, which features contemporary urban art and furniture, also offers separate Sip ‘N Paint events for children and adults once a month on Saturdays so the kids can get creative while you shop.
If gallery owner Jonene Lee looks familiar, it may be that you recognize her from her previous gig, bartending at Jansen in Mt. Airy. Or, perhaps from her employment at the former Chestnut Hill Camera Shop at the top of the Hill.
“I’m a photographer in the hip-hop culture” Lee said, who has focused her camera lens on fellow dancers. “I started as a break dancer with the Rennie Harris group back in the day. I was also in a company of all-female break dancers called Montage and was friends with the Roots.”
So how did she go from mixing Margaritas and mixing it up on the streets to owning an art gallery?
“I grew up in Bucks County and have lived in Chestnut Hill for eight years. I knew the neighborhood needed something different,” Lee said. “Last summer, I asked Richard Snowden if I could show some paintings in a pop up space in a vacant storefront on the Avenue. He agreed.” In those two weeks, witty paintings by Shannon LeBraun, owner of The Spice Rack, sold quickly in the four-figure range.
That is when Lee became committed to opening a contemporary urban art gallery on the Avenue, just around the corner from her home. “I opened in September 2022 and the response was awesome,” she said. Wendy Schwartz from Compass Real Estate, for instance, is sponsoring the whole month of March, since it's Women’s Month, for a show that will feature local women artists.
To keep things exciting, NoName Gallery features new artists every month. This month’s artists include a stunning sideboard re-imagined by Susanna Forjohn, owner of Quelque Chose. Lee is also working with the Jenks School to bring local artists into the school so students will better understand that art can be part of their life too.
“I want to be the community art hub,” she said. The next First Friday is March 3, 5 to 8 p.m.. Next Sip ‘N Paint, Sat. March 25. Gallery hours: Thurs-Sun: noon to 5 p.m.; First Friday: 5-8 p.m.