Merchants join forces to open downtown Plano art gallery

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Jorg’s Café Vienna owner Jorg Fercher and friend Jeff Bergus, owner of Lockhart Smokehouse, have teamed up create Ten 20 Gallery, a pop-up art gallery in Historic Downtown Plano that they hope to open by February.

Located at 1020 E. 15th St. in Zanata restaurant’s former location, the space will showcase works by local artists. The men are currently still finalizing their plans but said their ultimate goal is to create a casual venue for art enthusiasts.

With their businesses facing one another on 15th Street, the merchants are combining Bergus’ photography and fashion design experience with Fercher’s love for painting for the endeavor. Bergus said this gallery is the next logical step toward solidifying downtown as Plano’s official arts district.

Ten 20 Gallery aims to be a catalyst for similar organic concepts in the area, said Bergus, whose first Lockhart Smokehouse restaurant is located in the Bishop Arts District. Plano City Council Member David Downs, whose photography is displayed at Oak Point Nature and Retreat Center, has already expressed an interest in displaying his work there, he said.

“We’re just trying to create a buzz down here. We want to promote local talent,” Bergus said. “We’re playing around with a lot of ideas. “That’s what’s so cool about it—there are no rules.”

Fercher, who began his artistic career in Germany and had his first gallery exposition in Deep Ellum in the late ’80s, said he has enjoyed the opportunity to tap back into his love for painting.

“There are so many [art]groups out there, it’s incredible,” he said. “When people come to eat [at our restaurants]and they have to wait in line, why can’t they go and check out some art?”

The building’s owner, Rutledge Haggard, is allowing the men to use the building rent-free for a couple of months, Bergus said. The gesture was encouraging for the men, who spend at least one day a week hashing out ideas over coffee at Jorg’s. So far they have heard from a considerable number of artists throughout the Dallas area. The men hope to apply for city grants and receive other forms of financial support to eventually help cover the lease.

For more information about Ten 20 Gallery, visit www.facebook.com/20TenGallery.

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