Behind The Portal's New Art

Introducing The Portal's New Look

We have partnered with Pittsburgh art guru Jeff Jarzynka from Zynka Gallery and the amazing Gavin Benjamin to create a collection of artwork for The Portal that shines. We mean that literally and figuratively... Gavin's work combines photography, paint and a ton of gorgeous Swarovski crystals!

A Peek Inside of the Installation

Jeff, the mastermind behind the gallery curation, shared insights into the meticulous planning and execution involved in bringing 'The Portal' to life. "Having my gallery space, we tend to plan our exhibitions about a year or so out," Jeff explained. However, the project here at Bakery Square required a quicker turnaround. With less time to plan, Jeff chose to collaborate with Gavin Benjamin, a prolific artist known for his stunning and diverse body of work.

Jeff and Gavin rode over to The Portal and scoped out the space to try and envision what art they would choose. "Because the portal is such a nicely sized space, we needed to try to figure out how to best fill it," Jeff said. Gavin's extensive collection, including new works and lesser-seen pieces, made him the perfect candidate. "We spent a few hours turning it into what it is now," Jeff recalled. The installation process was a smooth one, but Jeff said the tricky part was hanging the piece that has fifty four small pictures that make up one. He chose to avoid the hanging system with these and decided to just stick to using adhesives. Prior to owning his own gallery, Jeff actually installed art into public spaces for around four and a half years. He did this to try and build better relationships with different artists before opening his own gallery. So installing art in The Portal was not his first rodeo!


Jeff has had a lot of experience curating public art exhibitions. He used to create art himself in college, but he called himself a “frustrated artist” because he could not put on paper what he had in his mind. Jeff said that the talented folks he gets to work with are a lot better at it then he was. He says he still has the same love for art, but he expresses it through curation now.

A Glimpse into Gavin Benjamin's Journey

Gavin Benjamin, the talented artist whose seventy-nine unique pieces are now lighting up 'The Portal,' offers a dynamic blend of stylish vibes and cultural commentary. Gavin's art style is personal and always evolving! His style has shifted over the years to incorporate more elements of pop culture and politics. "It used to be more lighter and fluffier, and now there are messages behind things," Gavin shared. You can really see this in his works, which layer multiple images from fashion, pop culture, and music to create rich, thought-provoking pieces. Gavin loves when people find their own meaning in his work. 'I just want people to see whatever they can or want to in my pieces,' he said. Every viewer's take adds a new layer, making each experience totally unique. One notable piece (and a fan favorite) in 'The Portal' features the two Queen's, Beyoncé and Lizzo, adorned with the word "NO" in bedazzled lettering. This piece, inspired by the 'Me Too' movement and a Viktor & Rolf collection, speaks to women's liberation and the fight for rights. "It represents women's liberation," Gavin explained. We’re all about celebrating those girl power moments!


When asked about his favorite piece in 'The Portal,' Gavin's response was like asking a parent to choose a favorite child (depends on the day you ask). “It’s like when you buy a new shirt, it’s your favorite for a while until you buy a new one, and then buy a new one. Yeah they’re all my favorite," he said.

Like any artist, Gavin faces numerous challenges. "Getting up every day, running a small business, oh my god, there’s so many challenges," he admitted. We’re sure some people can relate! However, according to Gavin it’s important to not stay hooked up on one problem for too long.

What People Here at The Square are Saying

Since the art has been installed it has been well received by the public. We asked some people that work here at Bakery Square their thoughts on the new art and below is what they had to say!

"I love walking through The Portal as a mid-workday break. Every time I look at the art I notice something new in each piece. I wish I could buy all of them for my new apartment," says Grace Papa, Bakery Square's Marketing and Events Coordinator

"I just love all of the personalities that each piece has. I sit here throughout my shift and always manage to find new details to admire. The view doesn’t get old! It makes me happy when I see people walking through and observing it,” says Amelia Witt, the Front Desk & Event Space Coordinator of Bakery Office 1.0

Make Sure to Stop In!

This space we have isn’t just a room with art hung on the walls, it’s an invitation to really dive into the art and get immersed. Jeff is crossing his fingers that folks don’t just breeze through ‘The Portal’  and they rather spend time exploring the layers of meaning in Gavin's work. He's hoping visitors get lost in Gavin's brushstrokes and they really pay attention to what Gavin does and what he’s saying. The pieces on display here at The Portal are also available for purchase and a portion of the money goes to the Larimer Consensus Group.

We would like to give a big thanks to both Jeff and Gavin for creating such a fantastic space here at Bakery Square! Whether you're drawn to the glimmering crystals or the captivating water lilies, 'The Portal' offers a unique and enriching experience for all who pass through!