An Unconventional Canvas: The Pacific Gallery
Perhaps no area of the Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center better illustrates the intention of the facility – what one repeat visitor calls its purpose to “facilitate human connection” – than the recently reopened, artistically reimagined Pacific Gallery.
The space was once relegated to a transitional area linking Long Beach Arena/Pacific Ballroom (host to everything from corporate events to large concerts) with the convention center's exhibition halls. Today, the Pacific Gallery is a spectacular space, ready and beautifully able to host all manner of events as its own venue or used in conjunction with the Pacific Ballroom, Gallery Patio and/or the Bogart & Co. lounge.
The Gallery is ribboned by multiple huge, breathtaking murals featuring vibrant flowers, fauna, butterflies and hummingbirds that lend a sense of movement that permeates the Gallery. With its high ceilings and windows that let in a generous amount of California sunshine, the Gallery is adorned with contemporary, in some cases, one-of-a-kind furnishings that are not only visually pleasing, but effective in creating welcoming niches. The space offers not only a place to relax, wind down or rev up, but to interact with friends, colleagues and potential partners. That’s no mistake.
“The people at Long Beach [Convention Center] really have a philosophy about meetings that you just don’t see in other places,” said Scott Steen, Executive Director of the American Physiological Society. “They believe meetings are about people coming together in a deep meaningful way. You walk in there and there is art, places to sit down and have a discussion with people and connect. The whole convention center is designed to facilitate human connection.”
Though the Gallery seeks to provide pockets of intimacy throughout, it can do that in a big way. When utilizing the other areas, it can host well over 2,000 people for receptions and banquets. Those other areas include the Patio, with its lush greenery, open fire pits and views of the Long Beach coastline and skyline.
Bogart & Co., accurately described as exuding a “restrained elegance,” is a perfect place for private parties and receptions with its connected spaces decorated with textured brick, dark wood and mix of intimate booths, high and low tables and conversation nooks with comfortable leather chairs.
Put together, or operating separately, they all share the common goal of bringing people together in the most comfortable way that encourages connection and creation. Artist Sergio Ramirez, who created the Gallery’s stunning murals, said he sensed as much when painting. He chose to use the hummingbird, a metaphor, he said, in Mexican culture for communication, because “people come to the Convention Center to express themselves. This is really the message I wanted to bring to the Convention Center through my mural.”
And that message is both seen and received by virtually anyone who finds themselves within the Pacific Gallery or any other part of the Long Beach Convention Center.
“Most convention centers are just big gray boxes,” Steen said. “In Long Beach you’re invited into a room and there’s art and wonderful lighting and beautiful colors. When you walk out there’s more art, more color, more beauty; a place you actually want to be in and stay in.”