BRIDGEPORT — Artist Nikki Crome has taken a dilapidated old storefront and made it a clean new art gallery.
The gallery, called Crome, will debut Friday with an exhibit by printmaker Ashlee Mays. It's the first in a series of planned Friday night exhibitions of work from the city's young artists.
Crome, 33, is an Iowa native who's decided to stop bouncing around different city bartending gigs and start following her passion as a full-time artist.
"The way I see it, there are so many ways to express art in different ways, I don't see the point in subjecting myself to just one," said Crome, who's also built her own brand — she sells T-shirts, hats and stickers depicting a graphic design-version of her likeness.
The gallery at 3118 S. Morgan St. has undergone a renovation that includes the addition of two large picture windows allowing passersby to peer inside the building, which will be filled with artwork on a rotating basis.
Some of the art will be from Crome, a mix of her experimental paintings, illustrations and graphic design work. Other works will be from emerging local artists, as well as visiting artists from across the country.
"I want the gallery to be known for the unknown," she said.
For now, she's concentrating on carving her own niche in the neighborhood's burgeoning art scene, which includes galleries and performance venues at the Co-Prosperity Sphere, Zhou Brothers Art Center, Bridgeport Art Center and 32Forty — all within walking distance of Crome.
"There are so many artists around here. It's the most at home I've ever felt," she said.