Vancouver's Gallery 360 comes full circle

By Mary Ann Albright, Columbian Staff Reporter




Previously: Co-op members at Sixth Street Gallery in downtown Vancouver realized that they could no longer afford rent at 105 W. Sixth St. Members signed a two-year lease on a less expensive space at 111 W. Ninth St. in September, and changed the gallery’s name to Gallery 360.

What’s new: Major renovations on the new space have been completed, and Gallery 360 opened its doors on Jan. 7. The gallery will celebrate its grand opening tonight during downtown Vancouver’s First Friday Art Walk. Mosaic Arts Alliance, the gallery’s nonprofit parent organization, has a new president, Jamie Lutz Carroll. Gallery 360 is currently accepting applications from artists looking to join the co-op and exhibit their work.

What’s next: Members are working on completing the teaching studio at Gallery 360 and hope to start offering art classes this month.

Gallery 360’s framed business license rests proudly on a glass display case filled with handcrafted jewelry and other treasures. Getting that little piece of paper was a labor of love for members of the co-op gallery and Mosaic Arts Alliance, its nonprofit parent organization.

“It was a long road getting that,” said Jamie Lutz Carroll, president of Mosaic.

If you go

• What: Gallery 360’s grand opening and downtown Vancouver’s First Friday Art Walk.

• When: 5 to 9 p.m. today.

• Where: 111 W. Ninth St., Vancouver, and various other downtown galleries and merchants.

• Cost: Free.

• Information: 360-693-7340, http://www.galler..., http://www.vdausa...

The fruits of Mosaic’s labors will be on full display tonight during Gallery 360’s grand opening, also the opening reception for February’s exhibit looking at vintage and alternative photographic techniques.

Mosaic members battled and conquered their share of obstacles in recent months to get to this point. Mosaic had to vacate its former home, Sixth Street Gallery, in September. Members could no longer afford rent at the space they’d called home for the previous five years.

Rather than disband, they decided to look for a new, less expensive location, which they found a few blocks north at 111 W. Ninth St.

Members have been working on renovations since October, and the gallery had a soft opening for the Jan. 7 First Friday Art Walk.

“We were like giddy schoolchildren,” Lutz Carroll said.

Gallery 360 has been keeping regular business hours since then (noon to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays), and members were looking forward to showing off the space to more of the community during tonight’s First Friday festivities.

“It feels really, really good,” said Lutz Carroll. “There were a lot of hurdles, a lot of roadblocks that we had to take in stride and just push past.”

The new gallery boasts high ceilings, exposed duct work, brick walls and hardwood floors. A coffee table, chair and sofa sit in the middle of the space, providing a cozy place for people to perch as they ogle the art surrounding them.

The Gallery 360 space is approximately 2,000 square feet — about the same size as Sixth Street Gallery was — but the layout is different. At Sixth Street Gallery (105 W. Sixth St.), the display space was the first thing visitors saw, and the classroom was tucked away in the back.

It’s the opposite at Gallery 360. A teaching studio that’s currently being finished is at the head of the storefront, and the gallery space is in the back. Lutz Carroll thinks this arrangement will be more conducive to drawing in and engaging community members.

“People walking by will be able to see what’s going on, whether it’s a class or an individual artist working,” Lutz Carroll said.

She hopes Gallery 360 will be ready to begin offering classes this month across a range of media.

Members also would like to reach out to local schools to help decorate the long hallway that leads into the gallery. It would be a great space to display student work, Lutz Carroll said.

Art in the main exhibit area rotates monthly. The current show, titled “‘Lofi’ography,” continues through Feb. 27. Directed by Vancouver artist Michael Smith, it includes work by more than 20 artists from around the country, including some local. ‘Lofi’ography is a play on words, combining low fidelity, or low-tech, with photography.

While most of the photography displayed at Gallery 360 is digital, all of the pieces in “‘Lofi’ography” are silver-based or analog.

“We wanted to showcase what people are either going back to or discovering for the first time,” Smith said.