Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Pittsburgh Galleries Updated With Notes on Closings

 I have been remiss as far as updating PghGalleries.com over the year but I spent a few hours combing through the files and removed quite a few galleries which have either closed or are closing soon.  The list includes Michael Berger Gallery, Fein Art Gallery, Fe Gallery among others.  For those that don't know keeping a gallery afloat can be next to impossible without other revenue such as framing or other related retail sales so it's no surprise that more are closing.  The traditional gallery model has largely been absent from Pittsburgh for quite some time or arguably never really existed here.  Many venues in Pittsburgh, like the majority on Penn Avenue in Garfield, don't even have regular hours so that further complicates the goal of artists selling their work.  

I wouldn't be surprised to see more hybrid stores like Wildcard in Lawrenceville where they sell craft products along with visual art on the walls or some adaptation on that with a possible flat file system where a larger array of art could be marketed to people.  There will most likely always a be a handful of successful art galleries in Pittsburgh due to framing needs and other sales but it will never show the variety and depth of visual art here.  And neither will art crawls or similar events with the regular presenters.  I believe entrepreneurs on multiple levels will take Pittsburgh art to the next level with the right support.

Pittsburgh as a whole needs to look at how larger cities support their artists.  Think of what the URA could do as far as allocating larger properties for artist studios to show their work instead of making The Buncher Company richer.  Cities like Minneapolis and beyond have large factory buildings allocated for studios where customers can come by and see the work they want to purchase.  Pittsburgh claims it is a city for artists but when it comes to visual artists the proof is just not there yet.

Rick Byerly

Eyes on Pittsburgh
Formerly the Pittsburgh Art Blog, Eyes on Pittsburgh focuses on cultural aspects of the region, including visual and performing arts, as well as locavore, development and environmental issues through original, analytical writing and interviews. Pittsburgh area galleries and art venues are listed at the sister site www.PghGalleries.com. The blog and website are volunteer projects from fine art photographer and Pittsburgh artist advocate rick byerly.