Gift shop, art gallery associated with “empowering” artists

Old Town and Downtown collide in a partnership between gift shop Flyby Provisions, at 201 Coal SW, and art gallery Lapis Room, located in Plaza Don Luis.

Art is an essential part of Flyby’s regulations. The store, which opened in May, represents 30 New Mexico artisans and businesses and more than 100 small businesses in total.

Gina Riccobono, owner of Flyby Provisions, said the partnership will add a curated art experience to the store.

“I just really wanted to take it to the next level and really get deep into the art,” Riccobono said.

Laura Houghton, owner of the Lapis Room, met Riccobono when she stopped by the Old Town gallery. Houghton said they had an instant connection as female small business owners.

“I just felt like we had the same values ​​in what we wanted to bring to our spaces,” Houghton said.

Flyby Provisions originally started as an online gift box retailer. Riccobono has worked in the food industry for years: she interned at Rio Grande Farm, where she developed a passion for local food. Later, it provided food and beverage services for offices.

After the pandemic hit, the offices closed and Riccobono started making care packages instead.

“It’s really meant to show care and connection during a difficult time, you know, when we’re completely disconnected,” she said.

Riccobono’s business model appealed to Houghton.

“I love the boxes that Gina makes because the act of giving and the way she does it so thoughtfully was really special, so I just loved the concept from day one,” Houghton said.

Houghton worked in museums before opening her own gallery last year. Houghton grew up in Ruidoso and studied fine art photography. Instead of pursuing photography, however, Houghton decided to represent fellow artists.

“I realized that I loved my work so personally, but I loved the artists in a bigger way,” Houghton said.

Her Old Town space was originally a freight yard that appealed to Houghton for its high ceilings. It has now been converted into a gallery featuring 40 visual artists, 10 jewelry makers and dozens of other artisans.

Initially, Riccobono had no plans to open a physical store. But the longtime downtown resident changed her mind when she saw the space.

“In a way, I was just meant to be here,” Riccobono said.

Albuquerque artist Allison Jones Hunt, Flyby Provision’s first featured artist, has had her art on the walls since opening earlier this year. She met Riccobono at an art market at Zendo Coffee, which is next door to Flyby Provisions. Hunt decided to stop by the store – and a partnership was born.

“I had this moment: My art has to be here!” Hunt said.

Hunt painted live at the grand opening of Flyby Provisions, which Riccobano bought and hung in the store. With Riccobono, the artist plans to host events to help local artists with business, including performing and writing artist statements.

“When you have people who are so business savvy and so passionate about empowering artists, it’s a real service to the community,” Hunt said.

Expanding the art presence at Flyby seems like a natural progression, says Hunt.

“Growing that side of it and incorporating artists and art events is … true to that ethos of empowering local creatives,” Hunt said.

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