Jordan Faye Block thought she was out of the gallery business. When she closed down Jordan Faye Contemporary in 2017 after 11 years of showcasing local visual artists, Block switched her focus to Thrive Atelier, her yoga studio and art space on East Federal Street in Station North.
But when building investors Paul Hancock and Patricia Solar offered her the chance to curate a new gallery in her own apartment building, Station North’s Nelson Kohl Apartments, it felt like a perfect fit. “This is actually my fourth gallery over almost 20 years,” Block says. “I never thought I’d get that far, but I guess I never saw myself doing anything else.”
Nine months and six exhibitions later, this section of East Lanvale Street is practically Block’s block. Once she began filling Hancock Solar with shows and salon series featuring regional artists, Block was asked to supply Milk & Honey Market with rotating pieces for the its walls. She also shows pieces at Station North Books next door, which is run by her partner, Ned Sparrow. Block’s goal is to make art accessible to everyone, whether something inexpensive strikes their fancy over a cup of coffee or they’re looking to expand their established collection.
Her most recent experiment is The 40 Day Practice Project, which challenged 10 local artists, including Maryland Institute College of Art student Blythe Thea Williams and painter Kate MacKinnon, to each create one piece a day for 40 days, with new artworks added to the Hancock Solar Gallery wall until March 2. While some pieces went for hundreds of dollars, others were priced as low as $40.
“Art seems like a luxury, but what people realize when they bring a real piece of artwork into their home is that art has this energy to it,” Block says. “It has this thing that emanates from the wall, and it changes the way you look at the world.”