A prominent figure in the Fort Worth art scene, Jay Wilkinson, has broadened his professional portfolio with the opening of his new studio / gallery in Sundance Square.
Aptly named after a wacky clip of his late friend and artist Jeremy Joel appearing behind a random wooden sign that reads “DANG GOOD CANDY,” the space, located at 402 Houston St., is intended to provide a fun and informal setting for emerging artists to present their work.
“There’s something big about the idea of doing your first solo where there’s a narrative involved,” Wilkinson says. “My plan is to work with artists who have a lot of work to do but haven’t put it together in the same album yet.”
Currently artist in residence with the Bass family, Wilkinson was recruited by the family to support an artistic and cultural renaissance underway in downtown Fort Worth. Wilkinson received the downtown space as a temporary studio during his residency, but saw the opportunity to convert the front part into a gallery.
DANG GOOD CANDY has been open to guests for about a month, but Wilkinson has opted for a smooth opening instead of a big push in light of the pandemic. Fort Worth artist Charles Gray got his first solo show with “Tell Me, I’m Listening”. Gray’s exhibition ended on Sunday with a free painting demonstration and will be replaced by works by Colton Batts.
While an accomplished show and studio artist, Wilkinson is not new to what it takes to start a business. After graduating from the prestigious Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and the University of North Texas at Denton, his artistic career came after he embraced his entrepreneurial side, opening a comic book store, a reservation company of music and a food truck.
“One of the great things I try to convey to these young artists is that it’s all about entrepreneurship,” says Wilkinson. “In the entrepreneurial world you have to pivot and move around different spaces, and that’s kind of what I do with that.”
Wilkinson says he sees the gallery more as an experimental space where artists can present pieces that would not normally be seen in a formal setting, such as installations and new media.
“If there was anything I would like the gallery to be known for, it’s like a work opportunity that wouldn’t normally exist in an ordinary setting,” he says.
More information can be found at DANG GOOD CANDY’s Instagram.