The dream was to create a space where everyone was welcome– a place where everyone could feel as though they belonged.
Located at 210 Fifth Avenue, the gallery—which was initially founded to showcase the work of Danny Clinch—has become integral to Asbury Park in recent years, serving as a de facto, modern-day community center where the doors are always open and there’s a jam session happening more often than not.
From the first, Clinch and cofounder Tina Kerekes (gallery manager and self-proclaimed “jill-of-all-trades”) were adamant that they “didn’t want [Transparent] to be a white walls gallery”. The dream was to create a space where everyone was welcome a place where everyone could feel as though they belonged. Couches and vintage furniture (which is also available for purchase) line the space, inviting anyone who wanders in to grab a seat and stay as long as they like. With a stage area in the back for live performances and a rotating collection of art, Transparent always has something new to see and hear.
And the “modern community center mind-set” doesn’t just extend to the physical space. The gallery is constantly seeking new ways to be a source of positivity and enrichment. Popular programs include Music Mondays, in partnership with the Asbury Park African American Music Project, as well as frequent events and collaborations with the Asbury Music Foundation.
Beyond the art and the music, the gallery is also a designated safe space for at-risk youth and young mothers. The Transparent team hosts special gallery tours for the local Boys and Girls Club, aiming to keep the spark of creativity alive with the younger generation. There is also an ongoing partnership with KYDS—Konscious Youth Development and Service- a nonprofit organization that works to support the bodies, minds, and souls of children, especially through holistic intervention. At Transparent, this takes the shape of spoken word poetry and music performances at the gallery, as well as yoga, meditation, and more.
In a town where history and future so often share the same air, Transparent prides itself on being a place where kids can explore their own creative expression while interacting with generations past—including a roster of legendary doo-wop and jazz musicians with decades of experience to share. “The dream,” says Kerekes, “is to have the younger generation be inspired by the ones who came before.
Whether you are young or old, amateur or expert, the message at Transparent Gallery is abundantly clear—you belong here. On any given night, you’ll find people from all walks of life. It’s “a room filled with what Asbury is, which is diversity. You’ll see all ages, all sizes, all colors.” And it’s precisely that mix that makes the place magic.