Artwork on an angle: Forty-Five Degrees provides gallery for local artists 

A sculpture by David Cook
  • A sculpture by David Cook

Forty-Five Degrees, best known for their sushi and martinis, is more than a restaurant. The building that sits at a 45˚ angle at 765 Mass Ave is living artwork with its ocean-blue walls, brushed nickel light fixtures, and plush black booths. A seat at the bar will get you a glance at complementary blue speckles in the granite countertop and a tasty pomegranate martini, courtesy of David Cook, the bartender and arts coordinator. Cook, owner of soli deo gallery, supplies the artwork throughout the restaurant, including some of his own pieces. Especially striking is his sculpture against the west wall. Check back in the future for a more in-depth profile of his work.

Once a month on First Friday, Forty-Five Degrees opens their doors to arts lovers. Four-person tables that fill the middle of the room are pushed back so that large easels can be brought in to show off local artists’ work. One of those artists, Jay Cook (no relation), produces paintings and mixed media pieces, the latter he notes as being a green way to start doing art and a great way to recycle. (His painting of the colorful merman is at the top right of the display.) Cook likes Forty-Five Degrees as a venue because “people tend to walk through a gallery space but they stay here.”

Artwork at Forty-Five Degrees
  • Artwork at Forty-Five Degrees

Another featured artist is photographer Scott Barnes, who does male figure studies and fine art portraiture. Barnes did a photo shoot at Forty-Five Degrees and, along with Jay Cook, became friends with the restaurant’s owner, Bill Pritt, who also owns Blu Martini (4705 E. 96th Street). The two artists began showing their work in January and have been asked back every month since. David Cook notes that each First Friday opening has been very successful and that he will continue bringing artists to Forty-Five Degrees every month. Take the chance to visit this unique arts venue on Friday, May 7, beginning at 6:00 p.m.

Check out to take a photo tour of the restaurant.

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