Gift shop, art gallery ’empowering’ connection with artists

Old Town and downtown gift shops are colliding with a partnership between Flyby Provisions, at 201 Cole SW, and the art gallery Lapis Room located in Plaza Don Luis.

Art is an essential part of the Flyby provision. The store, which opened in May, represents a total of 30 New Mexico artisans and businesses, and more than 100 small businesses.

Gina Riccobono, owner of Flyby Provisions, said the partnership will add a curated art experience to the store.

“I really wanted to take it to the next level and go deeper into the art,” Riccobono said.

Laura Houghton, owner of the Lapis Room, met Riccobono during a stop at the Old Town Gallery. Houghton said they had an immediate connection as female small business owners.

“I just realized that we have similar values ​​in what we want to bring to our places,” Houghton said.

Flyby Provisions initially started as an online gift box retailer. Riccobono has worked in food for years: She interned at a Rio Grande community farm, where she developed a passion for local food. Later, he provided food and beverage services for offices.

Once the pandemic hit, offices were closed and Riccobono started making care packages instead.

“It’s really about showing care and connection through a difficult time, you know, when we’re completely disconnected,” she said.

Riccobono’s business model appealed to Houghton.

“I love the boxes that Gina does, because the act of giving a gift and the way she made it so thoughtful was really special, so I appreciated the concept from day one,” Houghton said.

Houghton worked in museum curation before opening her own gallery last year. Houghton grew up in Ruidoso and studied fine art photography. Instead of pursuing photography, Houghton decided to represent fellow artists.

“I realized that I personally loved my job, but I loved the artists even more,” Houghton said.

His place in the Old Town was originally a loading bay, which appealed to Houghton because of its high ceilings. Now, it has evolved into a gallery representing 40 visual artists, 10 jewelry makers, and dozens of other craftspeople.

At first, Riccobono didn’t plan to open a brick-and-mortar store. But the longtime downtown resident changed his mind when he saw the space.

“How I wish I was here,” Riccobono said.

Albuquerque artist Alison Jones Hunt, Flyby Provisions’ first featured artist, has had her art on the walls since earlier this year. She met Riccobono at Zendo Coffee’s Art Market, which neighbors Flyby Provisions. Hunt decided to stop by the store — and the partnership was born.

“I had this moment: My art should be here!” Hunt said.

Hunt did a live painting at the grand opening of Flyby Provisions, which Riccobono bought and hung in the store. With Riccobono, the painter plans to host events to help local artists in the business, including pitching themselves and writing artist statements.

“When you have people who are so knowledgeable in the business and so passionate about empowering artists, it’s a real service to the community,” Hunt said.

Expanding the art presence at Flyby seems like a natural progression, says Hunt.

“Elevating that aspect of it, and featuring artists, and art events … is true to that ethos of empowering local creatives,” Hunt said.

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