Written by Audrey Sochor
Launched in 2017, business incubator The Underground is all about bringing new ideas and companies to the surface. It’s also all about bringing local, creative young talent to the surface with the Underground Art gallery.
The Underground partnered with RESA’s digital arts department to showcase student work that rotates on a monthly basis. Five students are featured at a time.
“We understood that talent is at a premium right now, and so when we have young students who have talent, we wanted to zero in and find a way to showcase that talent,” said Quentin Bishop, director of business attraction and entrepreneurial services for the Economic Development Alliance, which runs The Underground.
Lauren McQueen, a junior at St. Clair High School, is one photographer featured in this month’s gallery.
McQueen first seriously got into photography three years ago. While her picture currently hanging in The Underground is of empty seats in McMorran, her favorite thing to photograph is nature and landscapes.
“I love being able to show people there is natural beauty in the world, and that is part of why I don’t edit my pictures,” she said.
She loves having it displayed in a place with a bunch of entrepreneurs and other businesses that are growing because she relates to that as an up and coming artist, McQueen added. These new businesses are seeing something that’s going to sprout into something else.
Located in the bunker-like basement of Sperry’s Moviehouse, The Underground allows people to come in off the street and view the art. Bishop said it always sparks a conversation.
“So it’s cool because it allows for some decoration on a wall, but what it represents is our talent in St. Clair County,” he said. “And it represents that whether it’s industry, whether it’s small business, whether it’s entrepreneurship, whether it’s performing arts, whether it’s the fine arts there’s a place for somebody in St. Clair County.”