by Shannon Carr, correspondant
Los Gatos Weekly Times | San Jose Mercury News
There is room for lots of artistic talent at JCO'S Place, Fabulous Fine Art at 45 N. Santa Cruz Ave. in Los Gatos. But that's only because everything owner Julie Coconate Jenkins does in the 400-square-foot site revolves around keeping out the intimidation factor that can often be found in small, chic galleries.
"The ultimate goal is just to make this a safe place," she says of the gallery that opened April 26.
Los Gatos resident and art collector Mark Hacker says he finds just that during his visits to JCO'S.
"If you go into some studios, they're just very formal," he says. "And I like formal in the right place, but this is really casual, comfortable and inviting."
Jenkins herself is quick to admit that ambience was a big factor in opening the business.
"The ultimate philosophy is to get first-time buyers," she says. "There's just little surprises everywhere. Even though the space is small, there's lots to see."
She references works from part of Jco's "The Man Show," running through June 22 and featuring artists Gordon Smedt, Deanna Fainelli, Jeff Owen, Michael Babyak, Ann Strassman and Karen Shapiro.
"People are afraid of sculpture because it's usually very expensive; it weighs a lot," Jenkins says while pointing to a Frosted Flakes cereal box ceramic sculpture by Shapiro.
"This is something that is nostalgic; you're familiar with it, you know what you're looking at, it's safe. When you look at it, though, do you really look at it as sculpture? Not really. You kind of look at it as an old friend. That's why I love her work."
Los Gatos resident Lisa Condensa, another collector of JCO'S, says she enjoys the gallery because "there's pieces that you just don't see everywhere."
he adds, "Besides being so much fun to be with and a very good friend of mine, she's so passionate and so alive when she starts to talk about her art."
Jenkins worked for Judi Rotenberg Gallery in Boston from 1997 to 2001 before focusing on emerging artists with something called "Got Art? The Affordable Art Show." The self-explanatory event took place in rented barns two weekends a year in Sherborn, Mass; her job there ran from 2001 to 2012.
Jenkins moved to California four years ago with her two children and husband because of his job. She became a Los Gatos art docent just months after relocating, and before opening JCO'S with gallery director Eva Latin.
Hacker believes it is Jenkins' background that is making the place such a success already.
"All of these artists and these relationships that she's garnered over the years I think really contribute to the success of this gallery," he says.
JCO'S next show opens June 24 and will feature Mark Cooper, a sculptor and professor at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and Emily Weil's unstretched abstracts on linens.
For more information about JCO'S Place, visit jcosplace.com, call 408.888.1500 or email email@example.com.