Wouldn’t it be nice to pass a vacant downtown building and see beautiful paintings and sculptures where boarded-up windows used to be?
That is exactly what Unexpected Art & Decor founders Jeanine Turner and Jeffrey Kent thought. The two pooled their resources as interior designer and master painter, respectively, into pop-up gallery projects that benefit the vacant property owner, the artist who needs exhibition space and, of course, the potential buyer, since everything is for sale.
“Jeffrey and I started talking about doing a business that combined art, decor and events … years before opening in The Fitzgerald [building] in July 2012,” Turner says. “Jeffrey was approached by the Bozzuto Group to fill [the] vacant retail space located in the heart of Artscape in time for the annual event.”
To this day, The Fitzgerald remains their outlet for the exhibition and purchase of both affordable and high-end artworks.
A year later, Turner and Kent opened a second location in the lobby space at Silo Point condominiums in Locust Point, which were developed by Turner’s husband, Patrick Turner. Unexpected Art Space soon became an upscale venue for a series of events that include poetry readings, concerts, art lectures and conceptual performance.
“As more units in Silo Point sold, there was an excess of model furniture,” Turner explains. “Since I’m the in-house designer and wife of the developer, I saw an opportunity to aid both businesses by offering the furniture for sale at Unexpected Art, which we rebranded as Unexpected Art & Decor. Here you can find unique and unexpected selections that you would not find exclusively in a gallery or in a furniture store.”
“We also have a curatorial partnership with Center Stage to introduce regional artists to their audiences with revolving exhibitions in the mezzanine,” Kent adds.
Today, Kent and Turner employ a store and operations manager, Ryan Stevens, a publicist, assistant designer and salesperson, Jenny Wohl, and multiple interns and event hosts. They seek out artists in the region to fill their galleries, while offering in-home services that include placement of work and furniture on a trial basis, home art parties, and an online shopping site presenting high-end and affordable selections.