Art has new home at Different Trains Gallery

Different Trains Gallery’s exhibit “Cisco Kid vs Donald Trump” features prints in which artist Kosmo Vinyl re-wrote the dialogue in the speech bubbles to make political statements.  It runs through March 3.

Sarah Garvin and Shawn Vinson share a philosophy about art—that it should be affordable and accessible.

The pair, who have combined experience of 60 years in the art world, opened Different Trains Gallery in 2017. It has two spaces—one at Cornerstone Bank of Decatur on Clairemont Road and the main gallery at 432 E. Howard Ave. No. 24. The bank space is the showcase for group shows. The main gallery is where emerging and well known artists—including international artists—are featured.

Sarah Garvin and Shawn Vinson in their second floor office space of Different Trains Gallery. Photos by Gale Horton Gay
Sarah Garvin and Shawn Vinson in their second floor office space of Different Trains Gallery. Photos by Gale Horton Gay

“What we are really working on here is this concept of affordable original art, what will appeal to people beginning their collections,” said Garvin,

The neighborhood where the main gallery is located on E. Howard Avenue runs along the railroad tracks and has had an infusion of newly built townhomes and retail space. The gallery’s name is, in part, derived from its location. Also on the street are other businesses such as Color Wheel, a studio for young artists; Sycamore Place Gallery and restaurants such as Kimball House and the Dogg Haus.

Different Trains Gallery occupies a two-story corner space with the showroom on the first floor and the partners’ work space upstairs. The second-floor balcony is also where they display large sculpture pieces such as several metal works created by mathematicians and based on mathematical formulas.

“I think over time this possibly will have more foot traffic,” said Garvin of the area that some refer to as the Depot District.

Vinson said the area has potential as an arts district.

“Shawn and I have spent a lifetime connected with the arts, and we’ve managed to accumulate this rather vast network of wonderful talent,” Garvin states on the gallery’s website. “Now they have a place to come and talk about their work. Throw in music, food and wine, how can you go wrong?”

Metal sculptures are showcased on the balcony of Different Trains Gallery.
Metal sculptures are showcased on the balcony of Different Trains Gallery.

Garvin was an art history major at Tulane University and spent many years in the corporate world before returning to her art roots. Vinson was a founder of the Decatur ArtWalk and ran The Vinson Gallery from 1998 until 2008.

The exhibit currently on display at the main gallery is called “Cisco Kid vs Donald Trump.” It features prints created by London/New York City-based artist Kosmo Vinyl.

He used 1950 comic strips of the Cisco Kid by Jose Luis Salinas and replaced the dialogue in the speech bubbles to “reflect on Trump’s seemingly endless calamities.”

Vinyl previously worked with the British punk band The Clash. The show runs through March 3.

The galleries will display paintings, prints, textiles, photography, ceramics and sculpture with some such as the Cisco Kid show having a political slant.

“We’re trying to get more young people interested,” said Garvin.


On April 13, Different Trains Gallery will host an eclectic gathering of mathematicians, magicians, performers, artists, educators, scientists and others attending the Gathering 4 Gardner Conference in Atlanta. They plan to block off part of the street, pitch a tent, serve barbeque and have participants build sculptures. This is the first time in the conference’s 26-year history that the public can observe and participate, said Vinson.

Currently showcased at the Cornerstone Bank location is the exhibit Bank SEE 2.0 featuring paintings, drawings and textiles by Georgia artists Elizabeth Barton, Luzene HIll, Masako Kelly, Steve McKenzie, Jon Eric Riis and Flora Rosefsky.

Vinson and Garvin also plan to use their main gallery space for other types of gatherings such as wine tastings, pop-up suppers and other innovative concepts.

“We are experimenting with various ways to get people together to explore interesting art concepts,” said Garvin

In April, the gallery will exhibit the work of the late Dutch graphic artist M.C. Escher.

Entitled “M.C. Escher +,” it’s an exhibition of nearly 50 prints by Escher, plus original 2D and 3D works by contemporary math artists Dick Esterle, George Hart, Miranda Herrick, Paul Hildebrandt, Akio Hizume, Marc Pelletier, Clark Richert, Erin Sledd, Fabien Vienne and Scott Vorthman. The show opens to the public with an artists’ reception from 5 to 9 p.m. on April 14 and continues through June 9.

Vinson and Garvin also offer personalized art consulting and interior design services, as well as art sourcing for collectors and cleared art for Georgia Film & Television productions. Custom picture framing, delivery, installation, repair and restoration are among their other services.

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