A Gem Of A Gallery In Benicia’s Lower Arsenal Shows Works From Norcal Artists
Blue Notes by Carol Dalton
Starting off by enhancing the cultural scene in downtown Vallejo, the Jen Tough Gallery is now located in the Benicia Arsenal, providing a unique backdrop to showcase many types of art.
Despite Benicia’s long history as an artist enclave, making art more accessible to the public is a welcome endeavor. Large wall spaces are not abundant in Benicia, aside from the Arts Benicia Gallery. A right turn on Tyler Street instead of a left to Arts Benicia leads to the Jen Tough Gallery, a bright, dramatic space with stark white walls and soaring ceilings, that invites visitors to view the works of 20 local and Northern California artists.
With a contemporary vibe, the gallery is located at the rear of the 940 Tyler building in the lower Arsenal. In July, a group exhibition included paintings by Benicia artist Carol Dalton; and a summer show ended late August. Through September 6, Erin McCluskey Wheeler’s mixed media paintings are featured in a solo show and September 7-20, dynamic, textural compositions by Jeff Snell will be on view.
As a former long-time art director, Jen worked for Urban Outfitters, Warner Brothers and other high profile companies, as well as extensive freelance work. She recently announced a second exhibition space in the Arsenal that could include artist workshops. I’m exploring the idea of offering workshops in addition to the second gallery—it’s a lovely space,” said Jen.
“What amazes me about Benicia is the history of art and the artists working in the Arsenal. I also fell in love with the gorgeous lofty spaces,” she said, adding, “The arsenal is a quiet, overlooked area. The art history here has a pioneering spirit. That’s exciting—I love that.”
Jen Tough Gallery
942 Tyler Street, Suite E, Benicia
Open Mon.- Thurs. by appointment