In October of 2008, Karen Wray signed the lease on a commercial space for an art gallery in Los Alamos, New Mexico, one month before the bottom fell out of the economy. The New Mexican art market, in addition to the housing market, was booming and had been for a couple decades. Suddenly, the bubble broke and the housing market tanked, bringing along with it the rest of the economy, especially the art market. It might have been wise to back out of the lease and try again in a few years, but that’s not Karen.
The gallery grew from a 450 sq. ft. space to 600 sq. ft., then to 1300 sq. ft. in just two years. It occupied the space previously occupied by the town’s dry cleaners for many years. Apparently, the dry cleaning business closed with little fanfare and it’s closing was virtually unknown to locals for a couple years. Even though the gallery now resembled nothing of it’s previous tenant, locals would walk in peering over an armload of laundry asking, “this isn’t the dry cleaner, is it?” “I would have done the same thing,” Karen said. As time went by this phenomena continued, much to the entertainment of Karen and her assistant. After a few years, it was evident that although this location seemed ideal for an art gallery, it’s proximity to Trinity Drive, a busy 35-mph four-lane thoroughfare through town, was difficult for drivers and pedestrians to safely navigate.
Another space was available downtown that seemed like a winner, since it was located right across the street from the very popular Bradbury Science Museum and the book store/museum gift shop. Unfortunately, the book store/gift shop closed shortly thereafter and traffic to the gallery dropped significantly. Karen realized that this location would not work and closed the gallery a year later.
Karen leased space for an art studio for three years, then was presented with an opportunity to open another gallery in a newly revitalized building downtown that was experiencing higher foot traffic near the museum. After many months of renovation, the gallery opened.
Visit our spacious new gallery, conveniently located on Central Avenue! We are open Mondays through Fridays, 11-4pm, and Saturdays from 10-4pm.