Drew De La Fuente and Chance Neace — from Upscale Social LLC — plan to open The Grand Contemporary Art Gallery in early July.
The art gallery will be located at 109 W. Seventh St. in Junction City. The business partners recently obtained an alcohol license from the state. By selling alcohol to attendees of legal age, De La Fuente believes the business will be able to better support artists and their work.
Members of the city’s metropolitan planning commission have recently discussed efforts to create an art district in this area of Junction City, something the owners of the gallery think is severely lacking. De La Fuente and Neace also plan to open the Studio 111 Hookah Lounge at 111 W. Seventh St., which metropolitan planning commissioners recently approved a special use permit for.
Art work that will be on display will come from local artists, and the business owners are receptive to additional local artists reaching out to see if they can get their work on display in the gallery, De La Fuente said.
Neace and De La Fuente also have plans to open a music venue.
De La Fuente said there is currently a struggle between old money and new money in Junction City.
“But if we want more young people in the city, then we need things like this,” he said.
The creation of the proposed art district is imperative to draw young people to the city, De La Fuente said. The district would provide younger residents a form of entertainment that provides economic benefits to the city, he said.
De La Fuente said the new business additions are not just for younger generations, however.
“But that is certainly who we are targeting,” he said. “The businesses are working diligently with the police department to ensure the safety of the community.”
One measure the business owners are planning on taking is the implementation of early closing hours, so no one is out exceptionally late. According to De La Fuente, discussions about safety regarding the businesses and how they affect the community’s safety have been going well with the police department.
“We are excited to continue working with them to ensure the safety of the public,” he said.