By Kalena Reynolds | Reporter
Hidden in the heart of Thrst Coffee is an art gallery that aims to spotlight unique artists and bring the Waco community together through art. Located east of downtown Waco, 507 Gallery is the creation of Thrst Coffee owner Andreas Zaloumis and curator Josh Collins.
Zaloumis and Collins became friends through the coffee shop that previously occupied the space of Thrst Coffee. Both were photographers, and they bonded over their love of art and expression through pictures.
They first opened the gallery on April 14 and have featured a new artist every month. Collins’ personal project titled “Walking Waco” — a collection of photographs taken throughout Waco — was the first project to be showcased. Collins said there isn’t anything he specifically looks for when choosing the new artists except for inner expression and vulnerability.
“The art is kind of like a means to develop more meaningful, deeper relationships — and not just like on a spiritual, personal level, but almost like on a community level,” Collins said. “I definitely want the work to be different than what is within the mainstream culture of Waco.”
The space is intended to be a place for people to come together and discover a more organic side of art in Waco. Collins said he intentionally crafted the area with hopes that it would feel inspirational rather than perfectly manufactured.
“I feel like Waco is kind of hodgepodge-y, and so in a way, I kind of wanted it to feel like that,” Collins said. “My intention is for people to come in whenever Thrst is open, [whenever] they want, and just enjoy it.”
The space is currently housing the work of Waco artist Jordan Colyer, and the exhibition showcases elements of spirituality and connection to nature.
“I really liked the closeness of it [to Thrst],” Colyer said. “I think it kind of forces you to kind of really be immersed in the art, and I really liked that experience. As a viewer and as an artist, just having my art in there, I just feel really grateful for the opportunity.”
Collins and Colyer met through a mutual friend and immediately began conversing about ways Colyer could be featured in 507 Gallery. They explored much of Colyer’s work and eventually found the perfect pieces to create the “We Are Always Changing” exhibition, which opened in September.
“I was trying to tie the human experience with animals but kind of make it a magical experience, because they are very abstract pieces,” Colyer said. “I like to use animals. I think they’re really just neutral, but I also like to use them to express my emotions or theme of peace.”
507 Gallery, which is located at 1500 Colcord Ave., is free and open to the public from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekdays and from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends.