The Art House in downtown Fulton will close next month due to financial issues.
“The gallery couldn’t sustain itself financially on retail sales alone,” Art House board member Lynn Porter said. “This is not something anyone wanted to happen.”
She said board members decided to shutter the Art House during their Jan. 10 meeting.
“It was a very difficult decision for the board to make, but unfortunately, the gallery was becoming more of a drain on our resources than a benefit to our mission,” gallery manager Amanda Long said Friday. “We think we can accomplish more if we’re not constantly fundraising.”
Though the building at 531 Court St. will be sold, the Art House nonprofit will continue to exist.
“The board wishes to keep Art House intact as an organization, with the goal of providing art exhibits and events in the community in the future,” Porter said. “But I wouldn’t expect the Art House to hold any events for the remainder of the year.”
Long clarified no decision has been reached as to canceling the annual Callaway Plein Air event, which takes place each May.
Artists are supposed to clear out their work by Feb. 7, and the Art House will officially close Feb. 15, though Porter will continue to host her art classes and art supply business there until the building sells. Porter encouraged people who have an unspent Art House gift certificate to stop by as soon as possible.
“The building has a lot of potential — we’re hoping something equally awesome will be in that space,” Long said. “One of our founding goals was to fill a vacancy and remodel a building in the Brick District.”
Art House has made its home in downtown Fulton since February 2014. It hosts art by dozens of area artists, classes, events and several businesses — including photography studio Studio Seven and Porter’s art supply business. It even served as a place to sell crafts created by the Fab Lab at Fulton High School.
“My art has been on display and sale there for three to four years,” said Susan Rogers, an Art House artist who lives in Illinois. “Seems like it’s mainly when they have a Plein Air event that I make sales.”
Living as far away as she does, Rogers said she “wasn’t that active” with the Art House but appreciated it as “a nice space.” She added at least two other small art galleries she’s familiar with are undergoing transitions, such as changing ownership.
“Studio Seven has loved being part of such a great group of people, but as of Feb. 1 we will no longer be located at 531 Court Street,” Studio Seven owner Lydia Ryan-Schuster posted to Facebook. “We will miss our beautiful space and hope the new owners of the building will love it as much as we have. Thank you to the community for your support.”
She could not be reached for comment to clarify whether Studio Seven will reopen elsewhere.
Porter said foot traffic at the Art House has declined over the past years. That meant fewer sales. The Art House relies on its 35 percent commission to pay expenses such as building maintenance and the mortgage.
“The board was not able to have enough fundraisers to support it,” Porter said.
Aside from burnout among board members, it felt like they were dipping into the “same pockets” with every fundraiser.
“We want the community to support us and appreciate us, not resent us,” Porter said. “We’ve appreciated the support from the community in the past, and we’re grateful to our volunteers for their time and efforts.”
She added the Art House wants to “express our sincerest gratitude to the volunteers, founding board members, donors, sponsors, artists, Art House members and our community for the six years in retail business.”