Inside a century-old brick building on 1400 Pomona Street in Crockett, a soft-spoken man leads a tour of his gallery showroom. Formerly a car dealership, the bright and airy Epperson Gallery now houses dozens of ceramic pieces — big and small, muted and colorful, delightfully simple and impossibly complex — precisely placed on pristine white pedestals.
While the art on display invites interpretation, owner Gerald Epperson is charmingly straightforward. For 20 years, Gerald had driven by this building on his way to work at the Federal Reserve Bank in San Francisco, where he was a computer programmer. At the same time, he worked as a ceramic artist and sculptor on the side, with an ambition to turn his passion into a full-time pursuit.
In 1996, the building went up for sale, and Epperson’s dream took off.
“I’ve always wanted to have something,” he says. “Something I could put my ideas into, like a big sculpture.”
As it turned out, “big” was an understatement. At 15,000 sq. ft., the building required extensive remodeling and retrofitting to transform the space. Epperson and his wife of 45 years, Joanne — a talented ceramic artist in her own right — got busy raising funds, fixing up the place, and recruiting local artists to exhibit. (Sadly, Joanne passed away on Easter Sunday after a battle with cancer.)
One of the only galleries in the Bay Area dedicated solely to ceramics, this hidden gem features its share of delicately crafted bowls, plates, and vases, but the real standouts are the sculptures. The pieces range from esoteric minimalism to brightly colored works with a whimsical sense of humor.
“There’s just so much diversity within clay,” says gallery curator Suzanne Long. “We just want to be able to show everything that’s good.”
Epperson Gallery displays works by local artists as well as nationally renowned sculptors, rotating through pieces every six weeks. The gallery also offers workshops taught by artists that cater to every skill level.
“There seems to be a growing interest in ceramics (in the community), so we wanted to meet this need,” says Long. “It’s a great opportunity to share our passion with the community and with some of the best ceramic artists in the region.”
1400 Pomona St., Crockett, eppersongallery.com, Fri.–Sun., 11 a.m.–5 p.m.
This story appeared originally in Carquinez Magazine.