The Coop Gallery has been tucked back at 25 Carolina Lane for a couple of years now. It’s just far enough off the beaten path of tourism and boutique galleries to add alternative artworks that may not be as welcome elsewhere. But it’s also far enough off that same beaten path to restrict foot traffic, exposure and sales. The gallery will officially close on Friday, Oct. 5.
“We’ve done about 12 shows, but it feels like more,” owner Jeannie Adair told Xpress, adding that “It’s a good feeling.”
For the few years prior to the gallery’s existence, Jeannie and Chad Adair used the building as personal studio space. Jeannie, a software and graphic designer, used the upstairs, while Chad, a mixed-media artist, used the lower level as his studio. In early 2011, the formerly L.A.-based couple decided to open it to the public as a gallery and event space. Coop’s first exhibition was in March 2011 and featured the works of Chad Adair, with an opening-night musical performance by Mark Growden.
Coop hosted an array of works that wouldn’t normally be shown in other downtown galleries. Some were mildly erotic, others involved far too much spray paint and direct painting on the walls. For many, the gallery offered a stage for those whose work had been turned away elsewhere — not to mention the lively opening receptions that accompanied each exhibition. Several recent shows featured graffiti and street-style paintings. But other mediums also filled the roster. Earlier this year, Coop hosted Too Close to Home, a juried exhibition of local photography that came after Kevin Carmen’s pseudo-classical sculptural works and a Warren Wilson College showcase of alternative architectural drawings. A handful of thematic group shows drew artists from Asheville and as far away as California.
There is some hope on the horizon. The couple, who has rented the building for almost four years, aims to re-open Coop in another location somewhere down the line, Jeannie says. One with a storefront, ideally, they say.
And for Jeannie, the closing is “kind of like a long hiatus.”