PITTSBURGH — The pandemic has been such a grind. We’ve all needed to let off some steam.
That’s what Crazy Mocha hopes it’s customers were able to do when it collaborated with a local art gallery to turn it’s Sewickely coffee shop into an art space.
“People could come and order coffee, and while they were waiting for it to be brewed, they could walk around and enjoy the artwork,” said Jeff Jarzynka, gallery director of Zynka Gallery, adding that the art creates “a fuller, richer experience than just grabbing a coffee.”
Thought provoking sculptures, paintings and drawings were on display. Jarzynka commissioned six artists to do pieces for an exhibition at Crazy Mocha creatively named 20/20 is Hindsight.
“It’s almost like a symbol of trying to put something behind us. Which I thought was pretty brilliant,” said artist Josh Mitchel. “I like that painting a lot so I was happy that was what they chose to represent that idea.”
His piece titled “Time Out” was on display and continues to benefit from the partnership by serving as the cover of a limited edition Crazy Mocha coffee.
“It kind of represents the artwork and the profile of the coffee is a little bit complicated and unexpected but pleasant at the end,” said Crazy Mocha General Manager Kim Garrett.
That’s what she’s hoping for her company. Before the pandemic, the Pittsburgh-based coffee shop that started in 2000 grew to 24 cafes. Now, it is down to just one shop in Sewickley and two in hospitals. Instead of closing the last three doors for good, Crazy Mocha is working through bankruptcy right now.
“Once we got so far along the journey it’s like we can’t give up now and we made it through and I’m optimistic for the future of the brand,” said Garrett.
20/20 is Hindsight helped bring in more foot traffic for Crazy Mocha and helped get more exposure for the artists and Zynka Gallery, which was only in its second exhibition when the pandemic forced it to close for three months.
“It was a nice way of creating an alliance that does make sense: Art and coffee do go together,” said Jarzynka. “So it’s been a great experience.”