gmhTODAY 30 gmhTODAY April June 2020s | Page 76

ARTFULLYyours A Gallery 1202 An Inspiration Realized Written & Photographed By Dan Craig 76 GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN burgeoning art scene in downtown Gilroy has a recent addition with the opening of Gallery 1202. Adjacent to The Neon Exchange at 7363 Monterey Street in the recently renovated historic Louis Ho- tel, the gallery is operated by Gilroy resident and artist Emily McEwan-Upright. “The gallery focus is for it to be a landing spot for the community to relax, view artwork and to bring together the cultural assets we already have here,” McEwan-Upright said. She was making reference to The Center for the Arts, Leedo Gallery, and Moya Art Gallery and Studio. “I would eventually like to see an ‘art walk’ event involv- ing galleries, restaurants and other downtown businesses where people can network and meet.” To that end, she recently accepted an invitation to serve on the board of the Gilroy Arts Alliance. McEwan-Upright says her vision for a gallery began in her teen years when she would travel to downtown San Jose after school in Almaden to visit her mother, who at the time was working as an accountant. It was those frequent visits that exposed her to the emerging SoFA District on South First Street and its First Friday Art Walks. She credits those expe- riences with inspiring her to pursue a degree in Art History, and perhaps the impetus to eventually open Gallery 1202. “I spent a lot of my childhood downtown, I loved the budding art scene,” she fondly recalled. “I’d take the bus as a freshman in high school or get rides with my cousins. First Fridays inspired me to pursue a major in Art History.” She went on to receive a Master’s degree in Art History from San Jose State University after earning a Bachelor’s degree from U.C. Santa Barbara. The idea of a gallery in Gilroy came to fruition after she began displaying her own abstract art in her mother’s accounting office in the Pixley House on Fifth Street in Gilroy. In the spring of 2019, she began exhibiting other artists at Pixley. A desire to expand led her to contact Toni Bowles of The Neon Exchange to inquire about a space for a gallery. It fit Bowles’ vision of promoting entrepreneurial opportunities for women, and last October, McEwan-Upright held the grand opening of Gallery 1202. “Having Gallery 1202 under our roof here at The Neon Exchange is a testament to our focus in supporting female owned or operated businesses as they scale up,” said Bowles. “In addition to this, Gallery 1202 provides our Neon Community substantive arts and culture programming, which complements our focus on health and business.” McEwan-Upright has two children (1202 is named for her son’s birth date) and is married to U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander Rory Patrick-Upright, who serves as a weapons system operator in F-18 fighter jets. SPRING 2020