gmhTODAY Fall 2021 | Page 44

Kelly Brewing Company

Brewer Blends Ales & Art

By Dan Craig Photos by Will Sundquist and Kim Bush

Each panel is a work of art in its own right .” -Les Taylor , Artist

Parts of this story also written by Dan Craig appears on the Kelly Brewing Co website : kelleybrewco . com / ceilingart

Since I moved to Downtown Morgan Hill in 2013 , my neighborhood has transformed from old drying sheds and quiet streets to new housing and bustling restaurants . The city even erected a parking structure . Impressive ? Some would say so , but for me the most exciting addition was the opening of a new micro-brewery a mere one-block walk from my loft .

Opened in November 2018 , people know Kelly Brewing Company for its hand-crafted , open fermentation ales made on the premises . Regulars are also familiar with the “ Vaulted Vinyl ’ s ” art project that features fifteen murals of vintage rock albums spanning its 20-foot-high ceiling . I know about it because I am not only a regular , but also the artistic director of the project . I met owner and brew master Ross Kelly soon after he opened the brewery in the former dance studio on Fourth Street . I welcomed him to the neighborhood and subsequently learned of his desire to do something artistic on the ceiling of his pub . As a neighbor and practicing artist , I offered to help .
He told me how he removed the existing drop ceiling and restored the original vaulted ceiling . In the process he learned one downside of high ceilings is that voices obtrusively echo . To soften the din , he planned to cover the ceiling in acoustic panels . Going to all that trouble , Ross surmised , why not paint art on them ?
According to Ross , it was a flashback from his European backpack trip several years earlier that sparked his imagination . “ I visited lots of museums and saw ceiling art , including the Sistine Chapel ,” Ross said . “ That experience stayed with me .”
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