NORTH ADAMS — A long and narrow space on Eagle Street, once home to a teen center, has been transformed into an art gallery.
Among the pieces on the gallery walls in July were a detailed print of a forest, a canvas made from a cracked, punctured, and modified steel IKEA table top, colorful wooden geometric sculptures, and a large, white angel-like sculpture.
Co-owners and artists Sonia Domkarova, Bo Petran, and Anna Salmeron opened Future Lab[s] Gallery at 43 Eagle St. in early July.
More than half the art on the walls in the opening group show comes from artists in the Northern Berkshires, Salmeron said. “We're committed to that."
The trio moved to North Adams amid the pandemic. Years ago, Anna Salmeron and Bo Petran, a married couple, met Domkarova through Atlantic Works Gallery, a collaborative art space they were involved in East Boston.
"I was working on my photography portfolio," Domkarova said, "and I remember going to the gallery and going to another studio and I was like, I love your studio, can I come and like shoot some stuff? ... And then we just sort of became friends." She later joined the gallery and worked on projects with Salmeron.
Years later, Salmeron and Petran moved from Boston to North Adams during the pandemic looking for a change. “We’d always loved it out there, just adored it, and had the dream of coming out here," Salmeron said. Later they convinced Domkarova to move, too.
After relocating, Salmeron spoke to a downtown store owner who said when she starting putting local art on display, she heard a lot of interest from artists.
The trio had long been interested in opening a gallery. “Our home is jammed, to a fault, full of other people's art that we've traded or cajoled out of them or occasionally purchased," Salmeron said of her and Petran's house. "We all three love looking at other artists' work."
With a city supportive of the arts and a plethora of artists, North Adams seemed like a good spot for their gallery. "We really have so much to build upon with Mass MoCA and everything else that’s already been done," Salmeron said. "We have the perfect venue."
Salmeron wants to build on the galleries and artistic community in the city and create more opportunities. “We can't all show at Mass MoCA, right?”
She added, "The most important thing I want to come out of this with is a stronger community of artists."
Gallery hours are limited to weekends — Friday from 5 to 8 p.m. and Saturday and Sundays from 2 to 6 p.m. — to accommodate the trio's day jobs. Salmeron works as a pediatric nurse manager.
They won't be taking on the gallery as their full-time jobs. "We don't want to run it like a business at all. If we can find some way to break even, that would be great," Salmeron said. "We want to be focused on expression and different kinds of expression.”
Increasing Eagle Street foot traffic is another goal. "I think there seems to be a little disconnect between the tons of people at Mass MoCA and people migrating to Eagle Street .... The street pretty much doesn't have a lot of traffic," Domkarova said. When The Roots played at the museum recently "one person came (in) the whole time that was like, 'I'm here for the Roots, and I figured I'll come check this out,'" Domkarova said.
Domkarova is excited about other businesses set to open soon on Eagle Street, including a tea shop and lounge, and hopes the gallery can also help increase traffic to Eagle Street.
"We want to be part of the solution of really getting some of those people over here," Salmeron said.