Famous pandemic artist who painted plywood on closed businesses is now opening gallery

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NEW ORLEANS– Remember all those closed businesses on Frenchmen Street and Decatur Street that had their plywood painted during the early days of the pandemic?

The artist Joshua Wingerter is now up to something new! He’s opening up his own art gallery and studio in Westwego.

Wingerter’s new gallery is located on Third Street and Sala Avenue in the historic district in the Westwego Arts Center.

“This is a homecoming for me. I grew up six blocks away, and my mom owns a restaurant ten blocks away. I used to cut grass in this neighborhood as a kid. I tried to get the building 8 years ago, but now everything fell into place,” he said.

This building is owned by the City of Westwego and they cut Wingerter a good deal.

“The building has been vacant for 11 years, so I had to fix a lot of things on the building, but it is a good deal and I’m very excited,” he said.

Wingerter’s gallery will be downstairs and the studio where he will paint his art will be upstairs.

“To end up here, now the possibilities are endless,” Wingerter said.

The various rooms in the gallery will feature different art done by Joshua. The first room you’ll see features his “Covid-19” series which made him famous. A lot of the designs are similar to what he painted on the plywood on the businesses that were closed.

He hosted several events where he spray painted on plywood to raise money for charity.

“We ended up raising over $57,000 for four different charities and 100 percent went to those charities.”

Another room in the gallery features some of his work from his home.

“Stuff that was hanging in my house. The designs are comic books, tennis shoes, animated figures,” he said.

Finally the third room in the gallery, you’ll see a mixture of his other work, art he has done with spray paint and news print. Many of this art features celebrities like Amy Winehouse, Madonna, Bill Murray and many more.

His gallery will also feature photography by photographer Nathanael Jones who has been capturing Wingerter’s art work and journey from painting on the streets to now having his own gallery.

Wingerter wants his gallery to be a community spot where other artists can come and collaborate and feel welcome. In addition to that he’d like to host fundraisers and events to help neighborhood kids. He said he would even like to provide more art supplies and materials for kids in Westwego to do their art.

“I’m really hyped about having my gallery here in Westwego, my home, I’ll be implementing things that weren’t around when I was younger,” he said.

One major difference for Wingerter now that he has his own gallery is working indoors.

“I have air conditioning here,” Wingerter said.

Wingerter is very grateful to all the people that have helped him get where he is today.

“It is crazy that I got this gallery and that all my friends are here to help with the tools to help me do what I need to do. The universe put the right people in my life,” he said.

The official Grand Opening for Wingerter’s gallery will be this Saturday at 5 p.m. at Third Street and Sala Avenue in Westwego.

Only 25 people will be allowed in the gallery at a time, and social distance protocols will apply.

For more information about Joshua Wingerter and his art, click HERE.

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