JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — People in Johnson City don’t have to travel far to find art in the Tri-Cities, there’s a gallery right at the heart of downtown giving local artists a home.

Each month the walls of the Fischman Gallery are filled with art by local and regional artists. The space and opportunity are the vision of Nancy Fischman who wanted to give artists a place to work, network and showcase their art.

“I have a lot of friends who are artists and there’s always talk about where they can find studio space there’s very little space here,” said Fischman. “When I walked in the building… it just grabbed me.”

Fischman said the idea took off. She began advertising studio spaces and the gallery two years ago. By the time she opened in May almost all of the studio spaces were claimed. The gallery is booked with monthly shows through the end of 2023.

“I get requests from other artists from other places who want to show their work,” said Fischman. “So it’s exciting to be able to say yeah, let’s do a show, but you’ll have to wait till 2024.”

She said it’s been popular with the public and artists alike.

“When you’re standing in front of it, ask, you know, like, what am I feeling? What emotions do I feel?” said artist Tony Henson.

Henson is the next to hold a show in the gallery displaying 25 pieces of abstract art.

“I’m not the only abstract artist in this area, but I think that it’s leaning more towards people understanding and appreciating contemporary art and abstract paintings,” said Henson. “A lot more so than when I first moved here about 18 years ago.”

An artist for 30 years, Henson has had shows from New York to DC to Atlanta, but he said there’s something different about having a gallery here in the Tri-Cities giving him an opportunity to connect and educate.

“Don’t ask me what I was thinking because when I’m painting it, that’s another form of thinking,” said Henson. “So I wasn’t thinking anything when I was painting. It’s all emotional. It’s not conceptual. You can ask me any kind of question about the origin or what inspired me or influenced me for each painting?”

Henson also teaches Lifelong Learning courses at the Kingsport campus of Northeast State Community College. He also offers private painting lessons at his studio in Kingsport.

Henson’s show opens with a reception Friday, Dec. 2 at the Fischman Gallery at 133 N Commerce Street in Johnson City from 6-9 p.m.

The gallery is open 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. on weekdays, Saturday from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., and Sunday 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. The building also contains studios and Lazy Lady Bakes.