Perlow-Stevens art gallery will move at the end of February

Sunday, October 3, 2010 | 5:40 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — “We Used to Wait” by Arcade Fire trickled over the speakers at the Perlow-Stevens Gallery while a handful of casual observers sauntered around, examining the whitewashed walls splashed with abundant sunlight and bucolic artwork.

Maintaining the same feel and openness of their gallery is important to owners Jennifer Perlow and Chris Stevens.

At their quarterly reception Saturday night, Stevens announced the gallery will move at the end of February to the Berry Building, 1025 E. Walnut St. in the North Village Arts District.

Their new space will be smaller — about 2500 sq. ft., compared with their current 3200 sq. ft. — but Stevens sees potential in the arts district.

“Maybe we are one more domino to fall up there to create that critical mass you need for it to become a destination,” Stevens said.

Because they are moving from their location at 812 E. Broadway, Perlow and Stevens acknowledged the risk of losing foot traffic. 

“Overall our traffic flow will go down, at least, for a while,” Stevens said. “The question is, Can we get the true art enthusiasts and the art buyers to come find us up there?”

Their new location will have 15-20 parking spaces, which they hope will encourage more people to find the new location.

“It’s not going to have the same feel because it doesn’t have brick walls, it doesn’t have the tin ceiling and, obviously, those are things that added a lot of character to the space that we’re in,” Stevens said.

That’s not to say the new space won’t create a character all its own. Barn posts will bisect the new gallery.

“They’re big square hunky posts in the middle of the room, but they look great," Stevens said. “Even though it’s not the same space, the new space definitely has some architectural charm to it.”

John Ott, the Berry Building's owner, made it reasonable for them to move, Perlow said. The gallery signed a two-year lease for the East Walnut location.

“We’re perfectly comfortable in making that kind of commitment to see what happens,” Stevens said. “We hope that the space will be just as pleasing as this one and maybe give people more of a reason to explore that neighborhood.”

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