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