Victoria businessman turns artist, proprietor of new gallery on Rio Grande Avenue


Aug. 13, 2014 at 11:12 a.m.

Frank Reyes is a casual guy.

He wears jeans and light-blue polos to work most days - monogrammed on the lapel with the initials of his downtown Victoria heating and air conditioning company, South Texas Ventilation.

But in his other life, he's an artist, an upscale gallery owner and lover of international travel.

At first glance, he says most people never assume he's the proprietor of swank Gallery 313 Rio.

"Here and other places we travel, nobody would really expect to see us in the gallery," he said. "We're pretty casual here. I'm more comfortable in jeans."

Reyes has been a fan of art since childhood, which continued to grow as he aged. Never much into football, Reyes said, as a boy, he found peace drawing and sketching.

And when he had the chance to visit galleries when traveling, he took it.

"It always came naturally to me, so I never considered it art," he said. "Maybe subconsciously, that's why I opened the gallery. I wanted to have a place to hang my pieces one day."

Next door to Reyes' air conditioning company on East Rio Grande Street, Gallery 313 displays a breadth of international artists covering a variety of styles: abstract, mixed-media and expressionism, among others.

Local sculptures, wood-carvers and painters also display their works on the opposite wall across from the international and more well-known artists.

"We try to display a lot of different local artists. . But we do discriminate. We don't want to crush anyone's dreams, but we want to put good art on the walls," Reyes said, mentioning the gallery only earns a commission when a piece is sold.

Since completing the gallery's renovations about two weeks ago, Reyes said he and co-gallery owner Joe Cesta have been anticipating and hoping for new foot traffic in the space.

"Joe and myself both wanted to open this gallery to inspire the community and provide a local place for people to display their work," Reyes said.

Gallery 313 is delicately decorated and purposefully white and blank to bring attention to the main attraction - the paintings.

In its minimalism, the gallery is quite a sight, he said.

"Whenever I go out of town, I go look at art, and when I was thinking about opening this place, I visited many galleries to get ideas about what I wanted to do with this space," Reyes said, mentioning some of the inspiration for Gallery 313 came from Paris, Aspen, Houston and Los Angeles. "It's really great at night when it's dark and all the paintings are lit up. It's something to see."

Reyes and Cesta are currently featuring the Adrian Jesus Falcon Exhibit, work from a contemporary Mexican-American artist, which will continue into September. The exhibit also includes pieces from Esther Ojeda, Armando, Luz Perez-Ojeda and Jorge Puron.

"Many of these artists have their work showing all over the world," Reyes said. "It's great to have them here in Victoria."

Reyes said he and Cesta plan to begin a regular rotation of artists and exhibits in the fall, so new artists can be shown each month, and those visiting the gallery will always have new pieces to view.

"We eventually want the gallery to sustain itself on its own. Right now, we don't depend on it to pay the bills. But one day, we hope it can do that."

Reyes said his pieces are all for sale, ranging in price from $100 to $4,500. And in the future, he said, many of the pieces will go online for easy Internet purchasing.

But the gallery, he said, won't change his casual attitude or the ownership of South Texas Ventilation.

"We'll conform everything in the gallery to us, I suspect," Reyes said.



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