Letting Art Be: Awake Tea & Espresso Café & Gallery in Ashland
All wall space at Awake Tea & Espresso Café & Gallery in Ashland is put to good use—art covers them from floor to ceiling, featuring multiple mediums and subjects ranging from abstract multicolored gems to bright splashes of nature, seasoned with the delectable scent of coffee in the air. Owner of Hot Stuff Espresso in South Ashland for sixteen years, Connie McGonagle recently opened Awake—an art gallery coffee shop that’s open every morning until midnight.
McGonagle understands the intricate details of being an artist, an avid learner, and a family-oriented individual. “I think people just need to find their coffee shop.” Equipped with a screen projector and an open mic that’s always on, the gallery space is available for anyone to share words or music. She says, “Most afternoons it gets really studious. There’s a lot of people in here but you just hear pages turning, fingers typing and the occasional deep sigh.”
One of the featured artistic collaborations is a project curated by visual artist, Joseph Dalcin and poet, Daniel Lehner. Poetry for Peace is an inspirational concept to awaken people to the beauty and truth of our world. Their work transforms words into materials that demonstrate the current human perspective.
Their ultimate goal is to curate a book that combines poetry with visuals “to raise awareness of environmental and humanitarian issues worldwide.” Dalcin explains, “We want the book published in different languages, distributed in cafes and underground scenes all around the world.”
Dalcin and Lehner recently have been working with a few nonprofits, doing a fundraiser for refugees on the border who need help with basic needs like food and shelter. “I think it should be in everyone’s consciousness to see what’s happening,” says Lehner.
With over 50 contributing artists, Awake Cafe exceeds the standards of an excellent coffee shop. It is a new, eccentric community hub for locals and travelers alike.
Awake Tea and Espresso Café & Gallery
6 am – 12 am, daily
1757 Ashland Street, Ashland
(541) 420 – 0490