Cezar Salaveria believes art is as much about creating community as the creative process.
That’s why, two years ago, he opened Grit Studio and Café in a heritage building on Port Moody’s Clarke Street.
Since then, he’s seen people come through the front door musing out loud about their coffee or snack choices, then, an hour later, leave chatting excitedly about the art that adorns every wall and shelf in the place.
Even most of the tables and chairs are crafted by Salaveria, who makes liberal use of reclaimed and recycled materials.
On Saturday (Dec. 3), Grit is hosting Culture Pop, a curated show and sale of works by five local artists who will all be in attendance to talk with visitors about their art.
Some of the work includes paintings on old plastics, tote bags crafted from recycled materials, a live portrait artist, a silversmith and a woodworker.
Salaveria said while the café has held little bazaars in the past, this is his first attempt at a curated event.
It won’t be his last.
Salaveria said he has plans to expand on the concept, perhaps spreading to an outdoor space when the weather is more conducive.
He said it’s important artists get opportunities to mix with each other and the community and vice versa.
“Art is not just for visual spectacle, it is to facilitate personal engagement,” Salaveria said, adding the stories that are often shared at such gatherings bring further dimension to the works on display and help fire the creative energies of the artists.
“You need to be able to share,” he said.
Salaveria said informal settings like a café or bazaar help lower barriers that might make people hesitant to enter a more formal gallery; they’re there to get a coffee and croissant or shop for a gift and end up learning about an artist’s creative process or technique.
In turn, artists learn about their audience.
That can be liberating, Salaveria said, as often artists work in isolated pockets, creating in back rooms or studio spaces, the only measure of their efforts whether pieces sell.
“That’s the way community pulls toward us,” Salaveria said.“Making art more accessible is a catalyst.”
Culture Pop runs from 12 to 4 p.m. at Grit (2419 Clarke St.).