By Tara Bennett
If you happen to be walking through the neighborhood on Iroquois Street looking for art gallery Chez Fab amongst a series of houses, don’t fret. You are not hallucinating, nor have you walked into a Hansel and Gretel-like situation. You’ve found local artist Cindy Wunderbar’s abode, which she converted into an urban art house.
Wunderbar bought the house located on 3993 Iroquois Street in 2014, and over time morphed the structure from an ordinary house into a bohemian art gallery right in her very own neighborhood.
“There’s people here who want this stuff,” said Wunderbar. “And I want to show people they don’t have to be limited if they don’t have an art gallery. You just got to think outside of the box.”
According to Wunderbar, using her home as an art gallery just seemed like an interesting thing for her to do as she enjoys living off the beaten path. This is not her first venture in bringing the public into her home, as she used to live in several warehouses and threw underground punk rock shows. Now, she thought it would be nice to give people an opportunity to enjoy art outside the traditional gallery setting.
“I feel like there is a vibe that most artists have, that most creative types have, and sometimes when you go into galleries, while it’s a nice place to view the art, it’s not always the best place to tap into that creative energy,” said Wunderbar. “And that’s what I wanted here, to provide a space where you can not only look at art, but also feel that vibe.”
Wunderbar dubbed her art house “Chez Fab” and credits The Walls Project, the Museum of Public Art, The Healthcare Gallery, and the Elevator Projects for giving her inspiration, especially the Healthcare Gallery.
“Now that’s another space that is an unconventional art gallery,” said Wunderbar. “I mean how many art galleries do you see in a doctor’s office?”
In Wunderbar’s home, art takes priority. Much of the appeal of Chez Fab is the way Wunderbar gives space to art. Without the clutter of furniture, the focus is on the artwork housed inside.
With some of her creatively-inclined friends, Wunderbar is holding a grand opening for Chez Fab with a group art exhibition on Saturday, March 7 beginning at 7 p.m. Artists that will be featured for the night include Michelle Elder, Patrick Melon, ArtHouse2041, Brantley Gervais Severan, Jason Falcon, Lindsay Jones, JoJo Jilbert, Tanya Ruffin, Mike Carambat, Bryson Boutee, Loveday Funck, Blake Conner, Jill Mulkey Art, and Dody Sandifer.
“I think it’s really pretty cool that it’s a melting pot of different artists that come from different backgrounds with different talents,” said Tim Elder, the marketing manager for Continuing Education at LSU. “It’s a creative vibe, and really a different vibe for Baton Rouge. I’ve been here for 18 years, and this is the first time I’ve really felt this kind of vibe.”
The pieces that will be collected for the evening range from different mediums and styles, including steam punk, pop art, and works that focus on social commentary. Wunderbar hopes that people take away from the show the knowledge that anyone is able to break out into the art scene, even if they don’t know where to start or who to meet.
“The goal of this show was to really tie in a bunch of different artists from different scenes, and to really get an eclectic vibe here,” said Wunderbar. “There’s a lot of crossover, and I’m just bringing people together.”
While the various artwork housed inside certainly grabs an onlooker’s eye, the house itself vies for attention too. Touring the house, you will not step into a single room and see the same artistic visage twice. The house is covered with salvaged materials, ranging from glass shards on walls, to floors covered in pages from thrift store books, wallpaper made from colored pictures, and an elaborate kitchen floor painted in black and white.
“The house is my main art project,” said Wunderbar. “I just wanted to create an interesting environment for myself, and also doing this art show is interesting to me. I like meeting artists, and bringing people together and seeing what happens.”
According to Wunderbar, future events at Chez Fab will happen organically, and while she will be doing more art shows, she has plans to have more variety in her events, including acoustic shows and comedy nights.
“The best way for people that wanna get involved is to come and talk to me and propose something,” said Wunderbar. “Let me know they’re interested.”
For more information visit www.chezfabbr.tk/.