Fernando Luis Alvarez Gallery • Stamford, CT • flalvarezgallery.com

By: Susanna Jackson

In 2009 American artist Fernando Luis Alvarez was on the verge of joining the vast sea of galleries in Chelsea, New York. Instead Alvarez opted for a space on Bedford Street in downtown Stamford. Opening that December, the buzz about the inaugural show and the new gallery was positive, yet skeptical. The general consensus, according to communications director Rebecca Hansen, was, “We’ll see if they’re still here in six months.” “Everybody thought he was crazy,” says Hansen, “He was opening up a gallery at the deepest point in the recession. At that point in time, everybody thought no one was going to have that kind of money again, that art was going to become a superfluous luxury.”

To Women series orange large

Fernando Luis Alvarez, from the To Women series, 2013, oil and acrylic on canvas, 20 x 20″.

Alvarez’s eponymous gallery, which he owns and curates, defied the doubters and the flagship location was able to double in size within its first year. In 2013 a second location opened in Stamford’s booming South End. The commercial gallery has made a name for itself by bolstering the careers of international artists, such as Arturo Di Modica, the rebellious world-famous sculptor responsible for illegally displaying his Charging Bull on Wall Street in 1989.

The gallery is more than a well-oiled machine. It hosts myriad programs benefiting the community, sticking to a mission to “build artists’ careers from the doors in and build community from the doors out.” It hosts workshops for young artists, affordable exhibitions for beginning collectors, and this August its annual Thank You, CT, a juried exhibition featuring emerging local talent.

To Women Interrupted [sic] was scheduled for Paris or New York in 2015. Alvarez decided in advance to present it (May 17–June 22, 2014) in “a city of entrepreneurs,” Stamford, to raise funds for the Yerwood Center. Yerwood is a nonprofit that seeks to empower disadvantaged youth in the city and had been struggling financially for some time. Works in the emergency show feature Alvarez’s trademark lips; the red, boldly executed, sensual yet caricature-like lips have earned him a following from art collectors as well as luxury brands like Saks Fifth Avenue and Chanel. Fifty percent of sales profits are gifted to the Yerwood Center. To Women Interrupted epitomizes the gallery’s outstanding community-minded ethos.

Jackson is the Arts & Entertainment Editor at DigBoston

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