Pass through a picturesque courtyard, climb the wooden stairs entwined with vines and emerge on a sunlit patio. Charlotte Kubiak sits on a bench outside her CK Gallery, sipping coffee. Like many idyllic locations, the spot would be easy to miss, tucked away at 4125 Piedmont Ave. “In the summer it’s even better,” says Kubiak, “with plants everywhere, the hummingbirds are going here all day long.”
Since opening its doors in October 2011, CK Gallery has explored topics from passion to politics. “INFLUENCE: Art can Change the World” featured the prints of Emory Douglas, the former minister of culture for the Black Panther Party, an influential artist with international recognition. In addition to such heavy hitters, Kubiak has gathered the cream of the crop from Oakland’s Jingletown and neighboring Alameda.
“I’m trying to combine emerging and completely unknown artists, mid-career artists and very well established,” she says. “Everybody’s basically showing only well-established artists who sell, and the same artists are seen everywhere. A new artist has no chance to come into the art scene; never has a chance to be seen in a gallery setting.” An artist herself, she knows this from firsthand experience.
Kubiak wants her gallery to be accessible not only to artists, but to the community as well. “When you come into a gallery, and you need a bachelor’s degree to understand the art, I think there is something a little wrong with it,” she says. “So I’m trying to focus on having art in my gallery which appeals to people who know art very well, but also the general public can understand it.” Because of the broad appeal, Kubiak claims, “I can say that every single person who enters my gallery can find something they like.” With work priced at $35 and up, as well as offering an installment plan, they may even be able to purchase it.
CK Gallery, 4125 Piedmont Ave, (510) 759-2535, www.ckgallery.org, is open 2–6 p.m. Wed.-Fri. and 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Sat. The gallery stays open until 9 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month for the Piedmont Art Walk.