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Meet Jay Lopez

By Eric Richardson
Published: Wednesday, December 16, 2009, at 05:07PM
Jay Lopez Eric Richardson [Flickr]

One day after his announcement as the new Executive Director of the Downtown Art Walk, Jay Lopez is sitting in a Historic Core cafe looking at floor plans for a building that he hopes to fill with artists and galleries. It's a project that has both nothing and everything to do with his new post and the range of interests that Lopez thinks will make him the right man to lead Downtown's largest monthly event.

blogdowntown sat down with Lopez this afternoon to ask him a little bit more about his background and what he plans to do to get started.

ERIC RICHARDSON: If you were going to give a brief introduction to yourself and what you do, what would you say?

JAY LOPEZ: What do I do? I guess the easiest reduction of that is real estate and art. I've done events, I've done small business, I've done galleries, I've done events and benefits for galleries, projects with film directors...

ER: Art Walk is really sort of a complicated event, because you've got art, you've got economic development, you've got galleries... It sounds like you bring something to each of those pieces.

JL: Thank you.

I think that my different skill sets will finally be able to be used in every different facet of it, working directly with the City, the councilpeople, the Business Improvement District, the galleries, the artists, the patrons, the spectators and the local businesses. The role is something that can tie them all together.

ER: You mentioned that the Art Walk board found you. What was your first thought when they approached you?

JL: I was flattered.

ER: Flattered and excited? Flattered and worried?

JL: Flattered and excited. I'm not the worrying type. I'm ready to start working.

ER: What's the first step? How are you getting started?

JL: First step is talking to everybody. Not only are we going to do the [DLANC Arts Committee] meeting tonight, but as soon as we're done with that my personal goal is to walk around to every different gallery to start with, and to talk directly to the owner and find out what their needs, questions, concerns and comments are.

ER: On the real estate side, you've already been working to bring more galleries to Downtown. What do you think it is about Downtown that makes it well suited for galleries?

JL: Not only are we about as centrally located as you could possibly be, but also we have such a range to offer people. Not only do we have some experimental galleries, but also we have some very serious institutions here and everything in between. I think galleries can do well down here.

ER: One of the things about Art Walk is that you've got the galleries that are trying to sell art, but you've also got these 10,000 people coming Downtown that maybe aren't looking to buy art. How do those two parts relate?

JL: From my experience at galleries, a lot of the serious collectors will come in before you even have a show up and they'll start buying pieces. A lot of them will come after... But a lot of them will come during that opening, take a look around, see what's going on, and then come back. Everything isn't going to be sold on the first night.

But 10,000 people coming Downtown, I have a hard time thinking that would be a bad thing for the city. I think that's fantastic. We all need that. I think that the galleries have so much to offer these people that if we can keep bringing in a bigger crowd, it will drive more business to the galleries and the artists.

ER: You mentioned that before you were involved in Art Walk, you already had little ideas for things that could be done. What's something that's been running around in your head?

JL: You're going to have to come to some of my meetings for that one.

ER: Not even just a tease?

JL: It'll all be released really, really soon...


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