It is no secret that in the past decade, the art scene has flourished in Fredericksburg. Galleries from Darbytown to the Canal Quarter District have transformed downtown, and defined Fredericksburg as a destination for artistic expression. Many residents attribute this artistic emergence to LibertyTown Arts Workshop, which laid the foundation for other galleries to open and thrive. One of these galleries is PONSHOP Studio on Caroline St, owned by Gabriel and Scarlett Pons.
Gabriel and Scarlett opened PONSHOP in 2010, and are celebrating its 12th anniversary this year. The gallery features their pieces (Gabriel is the main painter, Scarlett is the main potter), as well as the work of approximately 16 regional artists. Over the years, PONSHOP Studio has grown into a retail store as well, where guests can purchase art from a variety of mediums: fine art, prints, clothing, accessories, jewelry, and many other options. According to Gabriel, many patrons believe PONSHOP led the evolution of Caroline Street, as more life and business has poured into the area since they opened their gallery. They are proud that PONSHOP has contributed to Caroline Street‘s mix of retail, dining, and art.
While the COVID-19 quarantine certainly paused business for PONSHOP, it also allowed Gabriel and Scarlett to slow down and refine their craft. They now believe that their work, as well as the work of many artists in the area, provides residents with a great form of communication and celebration. When people would walk around downtown during the quarantine, PONSHOP teamed up with other businesses to showcase art in their windows for anyone to appreciate. Gabriel believes that art is not a distraction, but an expression of the current climate.
“Art is a celebration of our culture. What we value in our lives,” he said.
Many artists have been able to turn their hobby into a profession in the past two years, and according to the Pons, Fredericksburg is the perfect city to do so. “We’re just a city that’s very integrated with the art community,” Scarlett said. They believe that the emergence of new artists, as well as established centers such as LibertyTown and Fredericksburg Center for the Creative Arts, have made Fredericksburg a city to hone artistic endeavors.
“It creates an environment where artists can thrive,” Gabriel said.
PONSHOP Studio is always looking for new avenues to showcase their artists’ work; there is no better avenue, they say, than Fredericksburg First Fridays. First Fridays happen at the start of every month, where galleries stay open late to introduce their art to guests. First Fridays are essential to their business month and entire year, according to Gabriel.
This year, PONSHOP has introduced a new, free activity for guests to participate in for First Fridays: the City Scroll Project. Guests can reserve a time to come to the studio, are presented with materials, and are invited to draw whatever they would like. At the end of the year, PONSHOP will display these pieces as a cumulative art project, and are excited to encourage artistic expression among the Fredericksburg community.
Gabriel and Scarlett love First Fridays, as they are the one time of the month where galleries work together and promote each other. “It really allows us to put our best foot forward,” Gabriel said.
“We have a very welcoming community,” Scarlett said, noting that Fredericksburg has been welcoming and supportive not only to PONSHOP, but to galleries across the city. To learn more about the happenings at PONSHOP Studio, give them a follow on Facebook.