Undercover Art in College Park

Whether it’s for the inherent enjoyment or the aesthetic of their next Instagram post, art galleries and showcases have become a hot spot for young people. Going to the National Gallery of Art and the Eastern Market in D.C. is great, but what if we told you that there was a little gallery right around the corner from where you live — accessible to everyone — that features work from local artists?

Photo by Sophia Shvayko

Sometimes the best-hidden gems are places you just stumble upon, which is exactly what happened to the four of us. We wanted to have a little dinner get-together, so we decided to pop into The Board and Brew on Route 1. It is a relatively popular restaurant here in College Park, well-known for the $5 board games and great coffee. However, most people don’t know that it also features an art gallery despite being displayed in plain sight. 

Photo by Sophia Shvayko

The walls are covered with dozens of bright art pieces, showcasing the talents of local artists. The Board and Brew display a variety of different art forms and styles, including photography, mixed media, impressionism, realism, digital graphics, and more. Each work has a card underneath it that denotes the artist and the price because, that’s right, all the art is for sale.

Samantha Elliott, a waitress at The Board and Brew who was recently made the director of the gallery, wants to reorganize the pieces to make the gallery more thematic and cohesive. Her goal is to have a section dedicated to each artist. This reorganization will help to underscore each artist’s growth and progression over time, as some of the works have been hanging in The Board and Brew for years. Once completed, Elliot believes that the rearrangement will improve the exhibition of the works featured in the space and ultimately enable the gallery to become a better-recognized feature of the restaurant. 

Photo by Sophia Shvayko

After interviewing several restaurant guests, it became apparent that most patrons have no idea that the art on the walls is for sale. Two young individuals from Waldorf, MD, who happened to stumble into The Board and Brew for a quick dinner on their way home, said that they had no idea that they were in an art gallery even though they consider themselves to be lovers and procurers of art. This lack of awareness may be caused by the gallery’s current arrangement. Guests remarked that the art looked messy on the walls, which detracted from their desire to buy anything.

Elliott has a lot of passion for making the gallery more accessible to guests of The Board and Brew. The gallery’s mission to showcase lesser-known artists is also perfect for the student artists at UMD, as it provides them with an opportunity to get their names and works out there. Elliott even notes that “a lot of the art is from UMD students.” Whether you’re interested in buying, observing, or producing art, this gallery seems to have it all. Next time you visit The Board and Brew, check out the progress that Elliott has made in the gallery!