(arts) espresso gallery 1 (jennifer alejos)

Just like the coffee, the artwork is always fresh at Espresso Gallery.

The quaint coffee shop was once a place of refuge for owner Aaron Garza. The aspiring artist used the storefront as a workspace for his personal artwork — flash forward three years later and this local hotspot is now a stepping-stone for artists to display their work.

The room doubles as a gallery with coffee as a perk; however, walking into the gallery creates the aura of a regular coffeehouse. The smells of fresh, robust coffee beans and paint fill the air. Low-key decorations, such as a patterned couch and a sign on the gallery’s door that reads “Be a Messenger of Love,” creates a welcoming environment to guests. Original artwork covers almost every section of the walls.

Espresso Gallery welcomes artists from all around the country with its mission aimed at promoting local artists and showcasing talent from the entire art community. The gallery hopes to serve as a platform for lesser-known artists to get their message out to the masses.

UTSA alumna Raquel Zawronty works as a curator at the gallery. After she obtained her bachelor’s degree in fine arts Zawronty decided to help Garza, a close friend of hers, with getting the gallery started. Currently, Zawronty is in charge of recruiting talent for exhibits and seeking promising artists.

“I want the artist to feel like this is a part of them; this is part of their community,” says Zawronty.

Exhibits are held once or twice a month, with each one centered on a theme. Local musicians are invited to perform at the opening to the exhibits. The gallery also hosts poetry nights on Thursdays with the group Jazz Poets of San Antonio.

Espresso Gallery also sells organic pastries and coffees. The menu features favorites such as cookies, biscotti and muffins, with all the desserts made from local farmer’s markets.

“All of the coffee is prepared here, all sourced locally. Everyone who does the baked goods is from San Antonio and our coffee is from Austin. It’s cool being able to support two local businesses,” says Garza. He goes on to explain that some of their coffee is imported from Africa and other foreign countries.

Artists who are interested in showcasing their work are encouraged to submit an application along with their portfolio.

Espresso Gallery is located on 529 San Pedro Rd., 78212 and is open Mondays-Fridays 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Saturdays 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sundays from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. For more information, visit facebook.com/espressogallery or call (210) 354- CAFE.

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