With Month of Photography just weeks away, photographers Tony Eitzel, Scott Wilson, Kevin Schwalbe and Westword contributor Evan Semón have opened Gallery 6, a 1,000-square-foot art space at 2434 East Sixth Avenue. There they plan to showcase the best photography around town, creating a go-to venue for photographers and art lovers.
While many galleries focus on selling to upscale customers, Gallery 6 wants to offer photographic prints for customers with various-sized budgets. Works will include cityscapes, landscapes, portraiture, travel photography and wildlife, from up-and-coming and established photographers alike.
Westword caught up with Wilson to find out more about the new spot and how it fits into the city’s photography landscape.
Westword: How did the four of you come together to form Gallery 6?
Scott Wilson: There are a number of interwoven paths that have fused to create Gallery 6, which has been percolating in all of our minds for a long while. Evan and Tony shared studio and gallery space together in the Tennyson Art District; Scott and Tony were both residents at John Fielder’s Denver photo art gallery in the Santa Fe Art District, and Scott and Kevin also exhibited together in theTennyson Art District. This year, Evan and Tony were looking for a new venue, found the vacant space at 2434 East Sixth Avenue, and the Gallery 6 concept grew from there.
What do you see that’s been missing in the local photo scene?
In short, a real photographic collective for Denver. And a community buzz! We’re creating a space where photographic art lovers can meet working artists, explore a wide range of styles and genres, and hear firsthand the story behind the shot. Clearly the pandemic has taken energy out of the art scene, but there was already a vacuum in Denver for accessible gallery photography that connects with Colorado and brings people together around regular events like First Fridays and guest exhibitions. We want the art and the artists at Gallery 6 to be very much within reach for the general public.
How is the new gallery different from the Colorado Photographic Arts Center, and what is it bringing to the art scene that is not already available?
Gallery 6 is a working gallery and studio with a wide offer in terms of diversity of styles and genre and access to artists. We have award-winning fine-art photography on show alongside local documentary work, Colorado nature, portraiture, travel and cityscape photography. We don’t see ourselves in competition with CPAC — far from it — and we certainly view CPAC as an elite exhibition venue that we are very happy to play a role in when the opportunities arise.
“Sloan Lake,” by Kevin Schwalbe.
What is the gallery doing, if anything, for Month of Photography?
Four Denver photographers coming together to create a brand-new gallery featuring a diverse portfolio of Colorado art: What says “Denver Month of Photography” more than that? Month of Photography is a tremendous event, and we’re delighted it’s going ahead in 2021. Despite the pandemic, we were determined our doors would be open for the whole of March, which we really believe is the main impact we can have on MOP. With COVID restrictions in mind, we’re creating a series of exclusive showings through March where we will welcome people with a maximum of ten visitors at a time. People can sign up to our event schedules, which will be published via our Facebook page over the coming weeks. Our events calendar will continue to build beyond Month of Photography, of course, and we’re really excited to unveil a selection of guest artists and themed shows in the near future.
What’s it like opening a gallery mid-pandemic?
Exciting and nerve-wracking…but more, exciting! We’re all very committed to the venture. We knew what we were taking on when we committed to the space and the partnership, and we understand the need to be patient while the vaccine is rolled out and we build awareness. Clearly, there are practical limitations associated with COVID restrictions. We have a strict mask policy in place and will cap max visitors to ten people at any given time as long as COVID restrictions are at the current level.
What kind of programming will Gallery 6 have? Strictly exhibitions? More?
First Fridays are high on our list of our priorities. We’ve all experienced the buzz of bringing the photo art community together around events like that. Beyond MOP, we’re excited to create an exposure platform for guest artists who are up-and-coming or underexposed on a two- to three-month rotational basis — we’re talking about those opportunities now. Of course, work from the four of us will be permanently on show, and as we grow, we will create dedicated shows and themed exhibitions, such as Documentary Denver, Film Noir and Colorado Nature.
Gallery 6 is currently open for limited viewings at 2434 East Sixth Avenue; the space officially launches Sunday, February 14. Hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. For more information, go to the Gallery 6 Facebook page.
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