Tucson culture continues to impress me daily! I swear there are new places I learn about everyday that more people need to know about. To my surprise, (and I’m sure many others) I was told there are actually more exciting things to do in Tucson besides penny nights at 4th Ave bars. I recently put this theory to the test and had the amazing experience of exploring a fairly new addition to the Tucson culture and art scene; I was far from disappointed.
Hiding in a local Tucson neighborhood at 630 E 9th St. is a hidden gem of the Tucson art scene that recently opened last December: Merci Gallery– a venue focused on art, music, and champagne. (Sign me up!!!) Husband and wife power duo, Corbin Dooley and Colleen LaFleur own the unique venue in hopes of creating a space that combines what they love about each other, while also giving them a space that allows them to channel their own creativity. As a radio personality for KXCI’s 91.3 Electric Feel and the man behind BikiniWax Records, Corbin does a lot of the multimedia art. On the other hand, Colleen is the owner of Atelier de LaFleur, an event production firm specializing in eco-conscious floral and décor. “We consider ourselves foodies who love to travel, drink champagne, and listen to new innovative music”. Corbin is from New York and Colleen is from Chicago; with Merci Gallery they had high hopes of creating a space that was warm and inviting, while also portraying a utilitarian, urban aesthetic. Let me tell you, they accomplished the goal! “We wanted a place that felt like home…”
Merci Gallery is the first art gallery in the state of Arizona to purchase a liquor license. Recently, the venue hosted an event, “Mimosa Yoga” where the public was invited to participate in morning yoga followed by a mimosa and good company, all in the comfort of the gallery. The husband and wife team “wants the space to promote the thriving art community in Tucson. We host a variety of events that
celebrate all facets of creativity, wellness and intellectual energy”.
Merci Gallery features different artists every three months. Currently, the gallery hosts a Botanic Group Show featuring Craig Cramer, Jenny Brown, Daniel Kim, and Colleen LaFleur. The venue includes a series of different rooms that each has its own specific feel. The community table is a space for gathering, the gallery is a space to display multimedia art and music, and the study is a space meant to pursue the library of art books and engage in deep conversation.
I love the idea of bringing aspects of big cities to a place like Tucson. It really gives those who live here, and nearby, the best of both worlds. The ambiance of the Merci Gallery is unbelievably inviting and modern. I absolutely admire Corbin and Colleen’s appreciation for city life and their confidence of bringing pieces of it to somewhere like Tucson that needs a little TLC in the big city-feel department. SO, if you’re looking for a venue for your next event, look no further Merci Gallery is the perfect place! Plus, you’ll have endless backdrops for the most Instagram-worthy photos…total bonus! Even if you don’t have a major event coming up, go check it out! If you’re from out of town, one of their artistically-driven events is worth the day trip.