Friday, March 17, 2006

Kiesendahl + Cahoun Gallery set to close

It seems all but certain that Kiesendahl + Calhoun will be closing after its current exhibit closes next month. The gallery closing is the focus of Kathleen Murray's column in the March 17th Enjoy section.

This development brings up a lot of interesting issues in regard to what's happening in Beacon, all of which I'm interested in looking at in the coming months.

I've been asked, and have asked others what kind of impact this closure will have on Beacon. On the surface, and in terms of the visible perception of Beacon as a thriving art community, it is a bit of a blow, particularly when added to the closing of LoRiver Art Gallery last fall, and the more recent disintegration of Collaborative Concepts. However, if relative success or failure is based on keeping score, then with the opening of the Firehouse Gallery, Beacon Exposures, and the development of Wild Wood Gallery, and even the opening of Morphicism, the number of artspaces in Beacon is about unchanged from this time last year. But certainly not all galleries, or spaces are created equal, nor is there equality in the impact that these spaces may have on the local creative community on a deeper level.

The unique quality of K+C Gallery is that they draw heavily on their base of contacts from Westchester, and this has provided the potential for drawing a new audience into Beacon. The gallery participated in last year's Windows on Main St, and it collaborated with the Rivers and estuaries Center on the Thomas Locke exhibition and I know the owners have been active in BACA. If you ask me about the impact that the gallery closing and how it will effect Beacon, I have to say I don't think it will have much of an effect in the long run. Kiesendahl + Calhoun have been active in the community, but it just had not become fully integrated into the consciousness of the art culture in town. That the gallery has been open a relatively short time, and the fact that Keisendahl and Calhoun are both in Beacon part time are contribute to lessening the impact that the closing will have on the broader scene. Of course you never want to lose an art space, but there will continue to be waves of openings and closings that will mark the ebb and flow of development of Beacon's art community

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