The Commerce Journal

March 20, 2012

Local couple creates ‘A Space’ for artists, students on square

By Caleb Slinkard
The Commerce Journal

Commerce — The square in downtown Commerce recently got a little more colorful, thanks to “A Space,” an art gallery that is the brainchild of Ashley and Paul Bryan. With a new exhibit every month and a variety of workshops and meetings planned, A Space will provide Commerce with an artistic rendezvous.

“I earned my MFA in Commerce last May, and we’ve been residents here for about four and a half years,” Ashley said. “We were sticking around because Paul works at the university, and I needed a place to make art. I also saw a need in Commerce for creating something for people to display art off campus and a place for educational resources for art and crafts.”

Currently, A Space features a different artist each month and is also the meeting place for a crochet club. Ashley is interested in bringing in art that is both visually appealing and unique to the Commerce community.

“We wanted to make a place for exhibiting art, workshops and weekly gatherings,” Ashley said. “We’ve had two exhibitions, beginning with Max Fields. Currently we are featuring Mary Benedicto, a Texas A&M University-Commerce alumna. We’ve been hosting Crochet Club, which is an offshoot of Art Club at the university, where we get together late at night to watch a film or T.V. series and crochet, knit or whatever anyone wants to do.”

The gallery has a close relationship with the University Gallery, located in the Art Building on the A&M-Commerce campus.

“We have a lot of amazing artists on campus, but nobody really gets to see their work,” Paul said. “This is an outlet for them to see promote their work and send people back to see our campus gallery. Our relationship with the university is a key part of A Space.”

While the Bryans have big plans for the gallery, which include expanding to other areas of the building, they’re also cognizant of their limitations.

“One thing we’re trying to do is grow slowly enough so that we can continue to be sustainable,” Paul said. “As people get excited about it and they come in, it will grow. We don’t want to bite off more than we can chew. I think it’s important for the community to have consistency in an organization.”

The window gallery is open from 7:30 to 10 p.m. and the main gallery is open from 1 to 5 p.m. Monday through Wednesday. For information about upcoming exhibits and workshops, visit or find A Space on Facebook.