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Jacob Babchuk Gallery launches exhibit at Juan Santamaría Airport

July 12, 2018

The Jacob Babchuk Gallery in Escazú has displayed works from its private art collection for the enjoyment of the public at the Juan Santamaría Airport (SJO), located in Alajuela.

The project started out as an initiative by U.S. art dealer Cobi Babchuk, who set up the arrangement so that a space within the airport could be used both as a gallery and as a space for purchasing art.

His art collection includes both national and international artists such as Costa Rican photographer Jaime Tischler, Israeli photographer Lili Almog, Israeli fine artist Basmat Levin, and Costa Rican artist John Paul Fauves. All of the works on display at the airport are located in the American Express Platinum Lounge and the Copa Club VIP Lounge.

Basmat Levin's artworks at the American Express Platinum Lounge. Roberto Delgado Webb / The Tico Times
John Paul Fauves's artwork at the American Express Platinum Lounge. Roberto Delgado Webb / The Tico Times

“The whole idea of the Juan Santamaría Airport came from the love of art and the experience that I have here in Costa Rica. I wanted to share my collection with the public,” Babchuk told The Tico Times during a visit to the lounges. “The reason we did the international art exhibition in the airport is because a lot of people come to Costa Rica for the nature, so we wanted to show them that we also have art sales.”

Cobi Babchuk (left) changing one of Basmat Levin's purchased pieces during our visit. Roberto Delgado Webb / The Tico Times
Cobi Babchuk (left) changing one of Basmat Levin's purchased pieces during our visit. Roberto Delgado Webb / The Tico Times
Cobi Babchuk (left) changing one of Basmat Levin's purchased pieces during our visit. Roberto Delgado Webb / The Tico Times

With this in mind Babchuk contacted Ellen Fonseca, administrative assistant at the American Express Platinum Lounge, and Karla Hernández, assistant manager at the Copa Club VIP Lounge, in order to get support for the idea.

“The idea is to give the opportunity mainly to national artists, but it can also be international artists. The idea is that the artists bring their pieces and exhibit them here and get exposure,” Fonseca told The Tico Times.

John Paul Fauves's artwork at the Copa Club VIP Lounge. Roberto Delgado Webb / The Tico Times

It’s the first time the two lounges have worked with Babchuk.

“We review each piece of work… we always try to get support from the artists as well as helping them, so that it’s a mutual help,” Hernández told The Tico Times.

In the case of the Copa Club VIP Lounge, approximately 17,000 people come through the lounge per month.

Basmat Levin's artwork at the Copa Club VIP Lounge. Roberto Delgado Webb / The Tico Times

“We obviously lend the space [for the artists] to exhibit their work so that they open themselves toward an international market because many people from many countries all over the world come in here,” Hernández mentioned.

With this wide and varied audience, Babchuk has been able to sell pieces from the collection to international buyers.

John Paul Fauves's artwork at the Copa Club VIP Lounge. Roberto Delgado Webb / The Tico Times
John Paul Fauves's artwork at the Copa Club VIP Lounge. Roberto Delgado Webb / The Tico Times

“The audience, when they sit in the lounge, they can actually look at the art and enjoy it. Some of them get more excited about different artists. We use four different styles so the majority of the people that go through the airport can enjoy it,” Babchuk told The Tico Times.

Lili Almog's photography at the Copa Club VIP Lounge. Roberto Delgado Webb / The Tico Times

If you’re traveling from Costa Rica in the coming weeks, don’t forget to sit down and enjoy these four artists’ work.

For more information about the Jacob Babchuk Gallery visit their website and their Facebook page.

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