Co-LAb Gallery is Highland Park’s latest addition to the community’s booming art scene and a space that is transforming the gallery concept into an accessible and affordable community space. Co-LAb gallery was founded in 2010 by Galo Medina and now owner/curator Kristin Hector. It originally made its home in Koreatown but relocated to Highland Park Feb. 21 with hopes of becoming a force in the Northeast L.A.’s rising art community. Offering exhibits, merchandise, workshops and collaborations with other businesses in the community makes this not just a place to look at art but to experience this generations art evolution.
Kristin Hector began pursuing a painting career when she moved to Los Angeles in 2010 after leaving a corporate job to follow her dream. She teamed up with former partner Galo Medina and curated a pop up gallery in Koreatown that then transformed into the Co-LAb Gallery in Highland Park. ” It worked out very organically” said Kristin.
Her advice to emerging creatives, ” Through the ups and downs I always reminded myself that I’m living my dream. Stick to your guns and follow your heart and you too will succeed.”
When I asked Kristin why they chose Highland Park of all the places in LA she said ” I love the community feeling, it felt like a neighborhood with an artistic underbelly, very genuine. It was easy to fall in love with Highland Park.”
With so many different types of people inhabiting and visiting Highland Park I was interested to see where Kristin wanted to take this gallery and how she was going to reach her primary audience, the people of the community. She had this to say about the future of co-LAb ” I want to continue to grow and help people see that you can have accessible and affordable curated art. That anyone can take part in both being shown and in owning an original piece of artwork. My focus is on emerging artists because there are so many incredibly talented people in this community and I want this gallery to be an institution for the neighborhood.”
As an emerging artists myself I often experience the fluctuating feeling that many artists go through of “If my work doesn’t sell, it must be because it isn’t good enough”. I asked Kristin what she experiences with her own art and the artists she curates on that gallery stigma, she said ” The hardest thing in art is understanding that because your work may or may not sell, doesn’t means its not valued. Sometimes its just as impactful to see it.”
With so many rotating galleries, artists and workshops along with the craze that is putting together a gallery and keeping it going, I was curious what her favorite moment was since the opening of Co-LAb. ” Every show and artists brings something new, but our one year anniversary was my favorite memory because of the high level of love, support and engagement from the community. I took a step back and realized this is the culmination of everything Ive worked for for the last six years. It was an amazing feeling.” Kristin said proudly.
From rotating art on the walls from numerous artists, to workshops on how to make succulent walls, tapestries and live painting, to books, cards and zines to events in house and in collaboration with local businesses, Co-LAb has made its mark on the community. Not only is the gallery welcoming and fun but also very well curated, down to the patch and pin selection. I look forward to checking in on the new art that will be flowing in and out of this space. Don’t miss Co-LAbs September events “I’M FEELING NEUTRAL” GROUP EXHIBIT OPENING SATURDAY SEPT. 3RD 7PM & “BRIGHT SPOT” GROUP EXHIBIT AT E.T.A IN HIGHLAND PARK CURATED BY CO-LAB GALLERY OPENING SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 10TH 7PM WITH LIVE PERFORMANCES BY SLIM JEFF & EMMITT JAMES.