Showcase on Main: New art gallery moves into downtown Decatur

By Racey Burden | Published Saturday, March 10, 2018

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In the Studio

IN THE STUDIO – Kris Hibbitts stands in the West 213 Gallery on Main Street in Decatur. Hibbitts is one of the artists with work in the gallery. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

West 213 Gallery, a downtown showcase for artists, opened on Main Street in Decatur this week.

According to Kris Hibbitts, one of the gallery’s artists, the goal of West 213 is to “bring back art” to Decatur and show off the work of locals.

“I would love to see this gallery generate so much interest it inspires other galleries to pop up,” Hibbitts said. “I’m not looking to change the culture in Decatur because I like the culture the way it is, but I hope enough artists come out and push themselves to showcase their art.

“There are a lot of artists around, they’re just a little shy.”

Reimagining the Cowboys

RE-IMAGINING THE COWBOYS – Artist Kris Hibbitts enjoys painting old black and white photos of the Dallas Cowboys in color. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Hibbitts was working with the Hayhurst brothers of Bridgeport, who designed the dice sculpture in downtown Decatur, and they introduced him to developer Mark Moran. Moran owns 213 West Main Street and agreed to let Hibbitts use the first floor as a studio.

“I literally just talked to Mark about using this space to paint,” Hibbitts said. “If I hadn’t met him, I wouldn’t be here.”

Hibbitts has loved to draw all his life and started working with acrylic paints just last year. He specializes in painting color versions of old black and white Dallas Cowboys photos.

“I wanted to stick to the older stuff and stick to just converting black and white to color,” Hibbitts said. “I know other people do that with photography, but I thought there was something neat about painting it.”

Hibbitts and two other artists, Laure Hoffman and Dan Black, will be working in the studio during its open hours – 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. The gallery is closed Monday.

Hoffman is showcasing her paintings in the gallery, but she said her main job is to be the gallery coordinator.

“Kris mentioned way before the gallery opened that he wanted to use that space, and when he told me that I said, ‘Can I please be a part of it?'” Hoffman said. “We share a desire to bring more musicians and artists to Decatur.”

Hoffman’s mother was an art history teacher, and she grew up reading art history books and falling in love with the classical style. She said she’s excited to bring others into the gallery so they can share their love for art.

“I’m hoping to connect artists in North Texas,” she said. “It’s nice to spread the community and bring them to us. We want to form meaningful relationships with other creators.

“It’s a group effort. I don’t think any of us would say our goal is just to promote ourselves,” Hoffman said. “I would love for the community to be involved. If anyone has any suggestions, we’re all ears.”

Artists interested in joining the gallery can email, or contact Hoffman on the gallery’s Facebook page (West 213 Gallery) or Instagram (@west213gallery).

“We look forward to incorporating more artists and growing the art scene in Wise County,” Hibbitts said.

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