Art gallery coming to Presidio as part of new cultural district

PRESIDIO — “I come from the art world, and was born into it, so having an art gallery has been my dream since I was old enough to have them,” says Adele Jancovici, lifelong artist and owner of the new art gallery Wet Dream, which is set to open sometime this fall.

The new art gallery — which will be located on O’Reilly Street and feature artists such as Anders Krisar and Paolo Canevari — is the byproduct of Presidio’s new cultural district project, which is also being spearheaded by Jancovici. The project, according to Jancovici, was conceived to help exemplify the beauty that lies within Presidio and it’s already existing culture.

“We are excited about making [Presidio] a beautiful place where people can enjoy restaurants and culture,” said Jancovici.

The new cultural district, in addition to the art gallery, will seek to introduce new restaurants into the area, of which Jancovici says “a sushi restaurant is at the top of our list” among other possible new culinary inclusions.

“We need food in Presidio, and we need great food…we have reached out to friends that we know in Paris, New York and other places about this,” said Jancovici.

Despite the timing of the COVID-19 pandemic, Jancovici said that she feels now is the perfect moment to grab an opportunity such as this, and even though others do not feel this way, she says she is undeterred.

Matt Stevens, boyfriend of Jancovici and the second mind behind the cultural district, said that he envisions the district to be a place where the existing culture in the area can be celebrated, rather than one where it is replaced or concealed.

“There is a lot of history here, and for us, respecting it is important. It’s a beautiful thing to see what the culture has been and how we can help bring it back to life,” said Stevens.

Stevens expressed excitement for the project and characterized Presidio as a “flower that is ready to bloom.” Other additions to the city that Stevens hopes to include as part of the project include making a hike and bike trail as well as preserving and revamping existing adobe structures in town. He also brought up the fact that a lot of towns in West Texas have a thriving tourist economy, which is something he feels Presidio is lacking.

“I think the tourist economy has a lot of potential, I mean, [Presidio] sits right next to a state park, and of course it has the border,” said Stevens.

Despite speaking on the importance of materializing a tourist economy, Stevens made it clear that he and Jancovici are interested in this project as something that can help the people who live in Presidio.

On the city’s side of things, Stevens and Jancovici said that Brad Newton, Presidio Municipal Development District executive director, and Joe Portillo, city administrator, were very receptive to the idea, saying that they were told by the city that a project like theirs was something they had been waiting for and thought could be a great addition.

After initially talking to the city about the possibility of creating a cultural district in March, Jancovici said that a presentation highlighting the plans for the area was then shown to Portillo, and from then the plan was put into action. In regards to the art gallery itself, the city used its Paint Presidio grant to help Jancovici and Stevens paint the structure on O’Reilly Street.

Additionally, in recent weeks the city of Presidio officially endorsed the association for the cultural district which has meant that Jancovici and Stevens can now go forward with their vision to make Presidio “beautiful” through exemplifying the culture and history that is already there.