Wynwood’s Oliver Cole Gallery pioneers new, contactless model amid COVID-19

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, many non-essential businesses are closing. But Oliver Cole Gallery stays strong, having learned how to navigate this new normal early on.

Standing in an ornate black and white striped building in the heart of Wynwood, the gallery features a variety of artists’ work, bringing contemporary art to the forefront for all to see.

“With the pandemic, we were forced to be more creative. We had to redefine ourselves and learn how to adapt,” said Umberto Ambrosini, manager of Oliver Cole Gallery.

Originally across the street in a 4,000-square-foot warehouse, Oliver Cole Gallery had a rustic look. Without struggle, the gallery found a more intimate, glamorous location. Just two blocks from Wynwood Walls, this new building is perfect.

Oliver Cole Gallery used their imagination and knowledge of technology to catapult themselves into an interactive viewing experience. There’s no paper to be found; only attendees, art and QR codes, making for a fully immersive, contactless learning experience. They even took it one step further, making for a completely covid-safe visit: FaceTime tours. By setting up an appointment, art lovers and novices alike get a personal tour from Ambrosini himself.

An installation by artist Jeremy Brown, on display at Wynwood's Oliver Cole Art Gallery.
An installation by artist Jeremy Brown, on display at Wynwood's Oliver Cole Art Gallery. Photo credit: Instagram, @olivercolegallery

The art of Oliver Cole Gallery caters to a younger, more digitally-focused audience.

“What really makes the gallery special is that we already had an online presence before the pandemic.” said Ambrosini. “Our clientele is the youth.”

Much like their clientele, they strike the perfect balance between pop culture and timeless, beautiful art.

The gallery exhibits more than 45 different artists on their website, where artists can submit portfolios for review. With many other galleries closing, Oliver Cole Gallery received an influx of pieces and artists to consider.

“COVID was terrifying and it happened so fast,” said David Drebin, an internationally known artist and photographer featured in Oliver Cole. “There’s nothing like being faced with your own mortality. Every day is a gift, and being grateful is key.”

The pandemic has been difficult for the art world, but Oliver Cole Gallery remains supportive of their artists and affiliates regardless. In December 2020, they participated in a virtual Art Miami fair during Miami Art Week.

“It was important to show support to the Art Miami Group,” Ambrosini stressed. “We didn’t know what to expect, but it was successful.”

The gallery works as a team and with a true sense of imagination.

“This pandemic has taught us to always be ready for everything and to adapt.”