by Sarah A. Peterson-Camacho
Five years after its debut, the 1821 Gallery & Studios flourishes in Fresno’s Cultural Arts District, an ArtHop mainstay featuring both a commercial gallery and four working artists’ studios. Founder and owner Bruce Kalkowski, who designed and constructed the gallery, sat down with Kings River Life to discuss the Gallery, how it got its start, and the importance of art in the community.
KRL: When and how did the 1821 Gallery & Studios get its start?
Bruce: The gallery opened in April of 2012; it got its start when I bought the building. My son had been renting it for his concrete counter business, but when his business closed, I had a 5,000 square-foot warehouse that was empty. Being located in the heart of the Cultural Arts District, it seemed like a good idea to convert it into artists’ studios and a commercial gallery.
KRL: What types of art does the Gallery exhibit?
KRL: How often do you change exhibits?
Bruce: There are actually two areas of the gallery as far as function goes. The main or front gallery is used for the featured artist, and changes about every six weeks. The hallway and side gallery spaces are changed as sales or interest dictates.
KRL: Do you focus primarily on local artists?
KRL: How has the Gallery changed since first opening?
Bruce: The gallery has changed since first opening in its level of sophistication. We have always maintained a high level of quality, and by doing so, have been fortunate to attract the finest artists in the region.
KRL: How long has the Gallery been a part of ArtHop?
KRL: Are you an artist?
Bruce: I am not an artist, although I did design and build the facility.
KRL: Why do you feel art is important to the community at large?
Bruce: I could speak volumes about why art is important to the community, but suffice to say, great communities have and support great art institutions. During World War II, Winston Churchill was asked to cut funding for the arts. He replied, “Then what are we fighting for?” That is so true in these times.
For more information on the 1821 Gallery & Studios in Fresno, please visit www.1821gallery.com.