- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 20, 2014

COLUMBUS, Ind. (AP) - The city’s only gallery dedicated to the showing and selling of fine art will close at the end of June.

Some 20 shows after its opening in May 2012, Jacksson Contemporary Art has not proved to be financially viable. The gallery was operating in the red.

Co-owner David Kadlec has been renting the space from a company that he partially owns. The agreement that he struck with partners was that if he did not purchase the Jacksson space, it would be listed for sale, The Republic reported (http://bit.ly/1niT4bp ).

True to his word, the building at 1030 Jackson St. was recently put up for sale.

Kadlec has had a 42-year career as a photographer, showing his work in Indianapolis and Minneapolis and serving as a curator for his own gallery, the former EyeBlink in Indianapolis. A curator serves as a producer for art shows, selecting the artists and pieces of art appearing in a show, obtaining the art and displaying it to its best advantage.

His wife and business partner in the gallery, Susie Sawin, is a dentist with silversmithing experience.

Jacksson Contemporary Art gallery opened with plans to showcase regional, state and national artists. The couple opened the gallery as newlyweds, drawing artists from as far away as New York and Texas and as close as Columbus. Prices of art ranged from $40 to $10,000.

They envisioned the gallery as a place to showcase career artists, selling their works to art collectors.

The couple expected to underwrite the gallery for a time, but sales at Jacksson were inconsistent. Although some shows garnered $8,000 to $10,000 in sales, some shows would end with no sales at all.

If works didn’t sell, Sawin and Kadlec got no income from the show.

Galleries are supported through gallery fees, which is a commission structure. The fees are used to cover overhead business costs including leased space, insurance and staff.

At Jacksson, sales were usually split, with 45 percent of the sale going to the gallery and the rest going to the artist - a more generous division than the typical 50/50 gallery split.

“(Jacksson Contemporary has) been the most professionally run gallery anybody has tried to do in town,” said Columbus-based artist Robert Pulley, who showed his pieces at the gallery’s first show. “Everybody shows up for the openings and drinks (Kadlec‘s) wine and eats his cheese, but it’s hard to find buyers. An individual can’t be expected to bankroll a gallery.”

Art-collecting culture is not strong in America, Kadlec said, with consumers wanting bargains or works of art that match their decor rather than heirloom pieces with potential value in future markets.

The gallery’s current show, “The Chicken Show,” has sold three pieces, including a $950 fully functional chicken coop by Michele Signorino, a Bloomington-based artist.

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