There is a secret art gallery tucked into suite 7 of the building at 36 N. Main Street in Tooele City.
Since high school, friends Jeff Shaw and Dominic Santistevan have dreamed of opening a business together.
“Dominic and I have been best friends since high school,” Shaw said. “We both are very entrepreneurial. We had a lot of different ideas about businesses that we wanted to do. The one thing that really struck us and motivated us was the idea of an art gallery and a media production company.”
Shaw is skilled in media production. Santistevan is a photographer.
“We were able to use our skills together to make this place,” Shaw said about their art gallery — Gallery 28.
Shaw and Santistevan secured their location for the gallery in suite 7 of the building at the beginning of last year, but quickly noticed the space needed a lot of work.
“2021 was quite the year for us,” Shaw said. “We spent eight months restoring the place. It looked completely different than it does now. The walls were pink, the floor was green, and the ceiling was about five feet lower. We spent the whole year tearing this place out and renovating it to what it is now. Now we have an art gallery.”
Shaw and Santistevan did most of the work on the gallery themselves on weekends, while still working their full time jobs during the week.
“We did 99% of the work ourselves,” Shaw said. “We only needed help with fire code.”
Looking at before and after photos of the space, one wouldn’t be able to tell that the space used to house piano recitals and a church.
“We spent over 500 hours on this place,” Shaw said.
Finally in September 2021, the two friends were able to open their gallery that now contains a few local artist’s work and also some of Santistevan’s art.
Shaw and Santistevan are looking for local artists that would like to display their artwork at the gallery.
Artists can also sell their art at the gallery.
“We plan to have a variety of artwork in here,” Santistevan said.
Along with displaying and selling art, the gallery offers scans of artwork.
“If artists don’t want to sell their originals, we can do a scan and have prints of their artwork in any size,” Santistevan said. “We can literally print the size of walls. We are excited to do that and we are the only place in Tooele that does that. This is a huge deal for us.”
The art gallery also films commercials.
“We can do commercials for small businesses out here or personal events,” Shaw said.
There are also professional art supplies on sale at the gallery, including paint and canvases.
Gallery 28 can be found on Facebook and Instagram.
Along with their social media promotion, the two friends plan to host events in the near future.
“We have a few different ideas for events,” Santistevan said. “We are going to be doing an art show every month… Some of them will be themed.”
The Tooele Downtown Alliance, a group dedicated to the restoration of historic downtown Tooele City — including Main Street and the Broadway area, are working with Gallery 28 to plan murals to be placed in Tooele.
“We are hoping to promote art projects in general to get more foot traffic down here, not just to our building but to downtown,” Santistevan said.
“Our plan is to get the community involved and to help the community grow,” Shaw said. “We have a huge growing county, especially now. There is no art promotion really at all, so we want to change that.”
Shaw and Santistevan also plan to have a booth at the Tooele Arts Festival this year.
The gallery is open Fridays from 4 to 8 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
There is no cost of admission to walk around and view the art.
Eventually the two friends hope to have their business open during the week.
“We want the community to know that we opened up to help local artists. A lot of our services are based around helping local artists,” Santistevan said.