A new Manhattan Beach gallery aims to revitalize fine arts in South Bay

Michael Hixon, Daily Breeze, January 17, 2023

A Manhattan Beach gallery will open later this week — as a showcase for fine art in the South Bay.

Dennis Jarvis, whose Spyder Surfboards shop opened 40 years ago, and woodworker Chip Herwegh have transformed what was a women’s boutique for more than four decades into an 800-square-foot art space called Gallery 208, which will open on Saturday, Jan. 21. The space, 208 Manhattan Beach Blvd., will highlight some of the founders’ work, but their goal is to also attract guest artists, such as sculptor and graffiti art pioneer Kelly “Risk” Graval, who painted the mural adorning the new gallery and will have a solo show in March at Gallery 208.

Gallery 208’s goal is to bring high end fine arts to the South Bay, Jarvis said.

“There are a lot of photography galleries around here, and they’re great and they all do a great job at what they do,” Jarvis said. “Our goal is to try to revitalize the fine arts scene in the South Bay.”

The gallery will showcase established and emerging artists whose work ranges from modern to abstract, from resin to wood-mixed media.

Other artists whose work is featuring at Galley 208 — which will operate from 2 to 8 p.m. Wednesday to Sunday — are David Diaz, Brian Kingston, Victoria White and Zen DelRio.

“We’re going to clear everything out, bring all new stuff in,” Herwegh said about their goal to have alternating shows. “We’re who we are right not, but it will be different, it will be bigger than that.”

While gaining notoriety for founding Spyder and as a board shaper, Jarvis has been an artist since he was 14 years old and started airbrushing surfboards around that time. He has done commissioned work on canvas for collectors, but has not had a space to showcase his work. Until now 

Herwegh, meanwhile, has a background as a set builder in the film business, as well as being a furniture maker and fine artist — creating works of art out of skate decks and more.

“We’re very passionate about what we do,” Jarvis said, “and I think it comes across in our own art.”

The duo are planning to host special art events and a speaker series in a newly remodeled, 600-square-foot back patio behind the main gallery. Events could include hosting nonprofits like the Friendship Foundation, a Redondo Beach organization that provides opportunities to children and young adults with special needs, or school shows that will benefit classes in need of support.

There will be select pieces on display that, if purchased, the collector can have a “purchase party” on the patio, Jarvis added. They can invite a few friends while the work is still displayed for the show.

Currently, the gallery has a one-year lease and the future of the building after that is not set, Herwegh said. They will reevaluate their options at the end of the year.

“I’d love to have it be successful,” Herwegh said, “and then continue it.”