Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Closing of The Gallery Underground

This is a day I never thought I would see. After three-and-a-half years The Gallery Underground is closing. This is an emotional loss for me, as I was one of the artists who exhibited at GU the very first night it opened, and have been a resident artist there for more than two years. When my daughter was just three I would load her up in the bicycle trailer and ride downtown to the gallery four days a week where I would paint. Many of the pieces I made for my "Proof of Faith" solo show at Art Whino were created in GU. I met many of my current friends there. Countless wonderful people have supported my art by making purchases through The Gallery Underground. Aside from myself, many other artists have come and gone through those weathered red doors and called GU a home for long or short periods. People have been exposed to new ideas and a lowbrow scene developed in an otherwise strictly traditional art town.

But now, after all of the positive things that have come from The Gallery Underground, the physical location has been labeled "unsafe" by the Fire Marshal of Fort Collins. I don't blame him for doing his job, so let that be clear. He told us that our only option to continue business is to move. The problem with this is that roughly 15 artists were splitting the rent cost at GU and already struggling to break even and GU was one of the least costly places in Old Town for us to rent. It doesn't look like we will be able to find another affordable option in the size and scale that we were operating at 109 Linden Street.

In truth, this is a perfect example of a bittersweet happening. I am deeply saddened by the loss of The Gallery Underground and the fact that I will not be building any new memories there. However, I am excited about what new opportunities I will be able to pursue now that I am freed up on first and third Fridays and that I will now have all the extra art to exhibit elsewhere. I am looking for leasing options around town that will either be studio and exhibit space for a small group of artists or perhaps a space that I will inhabit on my own. I will keep you posted on my searches, but for now I will be working in my new home studio and keeping my eyes peeled (as always) for other options.

To express my extreme appreciation to the Fort Collins community I will be offering 50% OFF any original piece during the month of April, our last month at The Gallery Underground. Beginning now and ending April 30th, you can email or call my cell at (970) 420-0308 to arrange a meeting at GU and take home any original piece for half the asking price. This offer is to locals only and you must be able to pick up the art in person.

Please do not consider this an end in any way, but a number of new beginnings. The Gallery Underground has been a springboard for so many potential avenues in Northern Colorado and I am so grateful to have been a part of it from the beginning. I wish all of the artists who have come and gone through GU the very best, I am thankful for all of the bands and musicians who have played in our space, and every person who visited the gallery to appreciate the work and support the visual arts. I also ask that all of you continue your support toward whatever is next. Thank you!

God bless,

Bryan A. Collins
Twitter - @useeverycolor
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