J.J. Graham, co-founder of Salvo Art Project in Bunnell, is and an artist entrepreneur who wants to share art with the community and break the mold of the stodgy, uninviting art gallery. "Salvo Art Project is a cannonade of creativity in a very unlikely place," he said. "We are a school, a conglomerate of 14 studio artists sharing space, a gallery, and an event organizer. That's why we call it an art project. There's not going to be someone in a suit selling you art when you walk in. It's a very inviting, comfortable living art space where people are working on their projects. Its expanding and growing."
Before launching Salvo Art Project, Graham opened the Hollingsworth Art Gallery in Palm Coast nine years ago. "When I opened Hollingsworth," he said. "People told me I wouldn't last two months. Here I am more than nine years later. I've seen art blossom in this city and I'd like to thing the gallery had a role in that. I've really been able to see how art affects our community and how a gallery can be a place to connect and meet."
Another facet of the project is its partnership with the Garguilo Art Foundation to help raise money to sponsor children who want to learn art. "The long term goal is to give artists a base from which to launch their careers," Graham said. "We have a unique family of artists. We all work together and help each other. When people walk in, they feel that - the love and creativity."
Graham advises aspiring entrepreneurs to be strong, nimble, innovative and charitable. "The only way to fail is to give up," he said. "If you have your jaw set and mind made up, you just keep plugging away. Always be in a position to adapt and improvise. In the arts field, it's constant improv. You have to keep it fresh. Starting a business, you have to be one of the most stubborn, relentless people in the world. Find the right people to work with and find a way to give back to your community."