Artful addition

New gallery adds playful dimension to growing Near Southside art scene

New gallery adds playful dimension to growing Near Southside art scene

Studio Cufflink art gallery
The new contemporary art gallery is at 120 St. Louis Ave. Photo courtesy of Studio Cufflink

Best Laid Plans isn't just the title of the current show at Fort Worth's newest art gallery, Studio Cufflink. It's part of the ethos behind the gallery, too.

Doug Gault and Joey Luong, both avid collectors, set out to open a space dedicated to presenting art from both established and emerging artists who have a strong voice and message. Luong, a graphic designer for Ernst & Young, and Gault, who works for Oracle, had mulled this passion project for a number of years.

“The original plan was to build a space with a gallery on the first floor and we’d live on the second," says Luong. “Unfortunately, that plan had to be moth-balled due to rising construction cost. But we didn't give up on our dream."

Like many people with big plans in 2020, the couple pivoted to a more attainable idea: They purchased a commercial space in the Dickson Jenkins Lofts & Plaza, at 120 St. Louis Ave., in the Near Southside.

Their new 1000-plus-square-foot space, with expansive windows that face St. Louis Avenue, blends raw concrete floors and ceilings with a highly polished feel of an interior designer, they say.

The gallery's goal, they add, is to present art in an environment that feels more like someone's home rather than the traditional "white cube" style gallery.

"We believe it's just easier to imagine art in your own home when it's presented that way in the gallery," says Gault. "Viewing and buying art shouldn't be intimidating. It should be fun, playful, thought provoking. And you should want to look at it every day."

The name Studio Cufflink — "Cufflink" for short — comes from the name of an LLC that Luong set up for a freelance graphic design business.

"When the idea for the gallery started to form, it just seemed natural to continue to use the name," Gault says. "Especially since our goals for the gallery are similar to what Joey had initially envisaged for his graphic design practice — personal, friendly, but with a level of polish that sets the gallery apart from the crowd."

Cufflink's inaugural group exhibition — which included works by Marshall K. Harris, Linda Shobe, Ross Bonfanti, and Scott Anderson — debuted during Fort Worth's Fall Gallery Night. The gallery has been quietly opening its doors to art fans who appreciate contemporary art by both local and worldwide artists, they say.

Its new show, "Best Laid Plans" — a solo show of works by Scott Thomas Anderson — runs through January 13. They describe it like this:

"The series of digital art is made from plans, schematics, blueprints, sketches, and scribbled dreams. Often utilized for buildings, sometimes for cities, while others are created for monuments, industrial works, ships — whatever man can envision. The idea behind all this is that, despite many plans and ideas, things can still go wrong and things may change. Buildings may crumble, kings may have whims, wars may happen, chaos and accidents can occur. Sometimes all at once."

As part of its mission to be approachable, Cufflink partners with Art Money, a platform that allows buyers to enjoy artwork now and pay over time, while the gallery and its artists are paid immediately. Art Money helps foster a sustainable creative economy. 

Studio Cufflink is one of the latest artful additions to the Near Southside, a neighborhood that recently earned designation as a Cultural District. It's just a few doors down from the buzzy new Tulips FTW live music venue. 

The gallery is open to the public 12-4 pm Saturday, by appointment Monday-Friday, and closed Sunday. Visit their website to view their entire portfolio.