Skip to Content

OFC Creative Gallery Opens a Downtown Art Space Dedicated to Austin’s BIPOC Artists

Stylish art lovers celebrated the underrepresented art community with a festive kick-off party.

A diverse crowd of people dressed for a party spilled out onto the sidewalk of Cesar Chavez downtown. They were there to celebrate the opening of the OFC Creative Gallery, a space dedicated to Austin’s BIPOC artists.

Marissa Rivera, the gallery’s co-founder and a dancer, stood in front of the artwork filling the gallery windows which face the waters of Lady Bird Lake, just 100 feet away.

“Rivera in Spanish means on the banks of a river,” Rivera says. “So it’s very special to me that I now have this art gallery right here on the Colorado River, which is part of the sacred waterways, and it belonged to my family’s tribe and the culture here in Central Texas for generations.”

Photo by Marissa Rivera

On opening night, dozens of people—many greeting each other with joyful shrieks and familiar hugs—admired paintings, woodwork, and photographs on display from local artists of color, drinks from the DIY bar in hand. Guests in neon high heels and painted lips lined up to have their portraits taken by photographer Corlon Evans. In the main room, eye-catching artworks from artist Felipe Gomez featured a woman created from laser-cut wood from the shoulders up, eyes and open hand to the sky, set against vibrant backgrounds of yellow, red, and blue paint. On the opposite wall, four acrylic paintings by Rhea Rose displayed ethereal figures outlined by wings, including a nude Black man and woman pressed against each other in bliss in “One,” their bodies shimmering with copper highlights.

“My people are butterflies and they’re coming out of their cocoons,” Rose says of her painting series on change titled Metamorphosis.

MORE: The Pearl Fishers at Austin Opera Excels on All Fronts

Rose, a lifelong artist who lives in Round Rock, recalled searching online for “famous artists” and seeing only one artist of color in the results: Frida Kahlo. As an art teacher, she wants to promote exposure for minority artists and make sure that younger artists know that art is an option for them. “I love what is doing in the community,” she says. “I want to support something like this.” 

The story of the gallery’s opening is one of community, celebration, and a reclamation of space for the minorities of Austin that have been pushed out of town since the deliberate redlining that began all the way back in 1929. Gallery cofounders Rivera, RuDi Devino (a musician), and Steven Hatchett (a photographer) first brought their creative minds together to kick off Black Art Weekend in June of 2021, soon after Juneteenth became a federal holiday.

“We thought it was just going to be a bunch of our homies, like, maybe 50 people would show up—and 400 people showed up,” Rivera says. Latino Art Weekend followed, and the official OFC Creatives nonprofit launched last January.

“We wanted to see our people succeed in the creative arts and didn’t see a lot of organizations focusing on what that might look like,” Hatchett, one of the gallery cofounders who has his own studio in the space, says. So they decided to open OFC Creative Gallery, which will serve as a display for rotating exhibitions, an incubator space to teach up-and-coming artists how to build and market their businesses, and an event space that anyone can rent out. Patrons can now support the gallery through a monthly membership that costs $10-$30 per month and includes perks like private dinners, priority access to after-hours events like music showcases, and member-only preview nights.

“ celebrating the evolution of us as creatives ourselves, going from struggling to find spaces to actually having a space,” Hatchett says. “I think that’s a strong testament to what’s possible in Austin.”

Visit OFC Creative Gallery at 101 Colorado Street #102, Friday through Sunday from noon to 6pm.

MORE: Four Non-Profits Making Austin’s Art Scene More Inclusive