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Since 2008, Karen Wray’s gallery has hosted many local artists’ work. But as of Oct. 1, she is closing her doors. Reason being, there has not been much traffic coming through and business has dwindled.
Wray is moving her studio to a different location in town so that art classes will continue. “It’s a bigger space ideal for art classes,” Wray said.
Wray said she can now focus on her love of painting and teaching at the new location where she will teach oil painting, watercolor, drawing and composition. Wray also has taught classes on how to exhibit and sell artwork.
She said she is hopeful classes will be available in the fall.
The new studio space is on East Gate Drive. She said more information about the studio will be available at a later date.
Wray said that she will miss the artists she has come to know throughout the years.
“I’ve watched many artists grow and their work progress, so it is a sad time,” she said.
Wray said the same of art classes, watching the budding artists learn and grow is something that she has always loved and wants to continue.
Artists like Secundino Sandoval, Richard Swenson and others have their work on consignment at the gallery.
Artwork is still for sale and anything that doesn’t sell will go back to the artists. The art will continue to be on sale until Sept. 20.
The struggling economy is also a factor in the gallery closing. “People are still skittish about spending money and the purchase of art is the first luxury people tend to let go,” Wray said.
The gallery has focused on locally produced art at a reasonable prices. It is a place where local artists can have a constant place to display their work. She enjoyed being the first to see many great works of art.
When the gallery first opened, it was on Trinity Drive and moved to its current location at 1475 Central Ave. a year ago. With Otowi Station Bookstore across the street and along with the Bradbury Science Museum, a lot of tourist traffic came through. But since the closing of the book store, that is no longer the case.
“People work down here and don’t do much walking around,” Wray said, “During the weekend the parking lots are pretty much empty.”
Some customers will surely miss the gallery dog Tinkerbell, Wray’s basset hound. A sign on the window donning her face states that “Tinkerbell is in.” Wray joked that the dog thinks customers are there for her.
Current gallery hours are noon to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. The gallery is closed Sunday and Monday. For more information call 660-6382, or visit karenwrayfineart.com.