February 5, 2009
Artists Gallery opens in new site on Main Street
Downtown's newest art gallery opened today, just in time for its grand opening during Saturday's Gallery night.
The ten-year-old Artists Gallery, the city's only cooperative, has completed its move from Sixth Street, and held a quiet, "soft" opening today -- drawing its first customers to the new location at 401 Main St. This is the gallery's second move in as many years; long located at 414 Sixth St., it moved to 312 Sixth in 2007, into space previously occupied by Martha Merrell's bookstore. That site will soon become another artist's gallery, with his home upstairs.
The site was most recently occupied by 716 Gallery, but older Racine residents will remember the corner building at Main and 4th Street as the longtime home of Eitels, a women's clothing store for decades. (Really old Racinians also remember the Walgreen's next door, but that's another story.) The brick building itself dates from the 1860s.
Artists Gallery is staffed by the 35 artist-members, each of whom has at least two pieces hung in the new space, which has been attractively redone to comply with the landlord's edict that no holes be driven into the brick walls. The artists met that requirement by installing panels of white-painted sheetrock, and also hung three simple, attractive display cabinets on the walls, that let the brick show through. Built by member Ed Kalke, they are attached to the building's strategically placed wooden expansion joints.