Arts preview: pm Gallery to close Short North storefront

Jim Fischer
Columbus Alive
Maria Galloway and her dog Sisko will be retiring from pm Gallery and moving to Florida.

Sisko is the fourth gallery dog to share space in the Short North with pm Gallery owner Maria Galloway. And Sisko will also be the last, as Galloway plans to shutter the longtime neighborhood linchpin in the coming weeks.

Galloway is upbeat about the occasion. “Thirty-eight years is a damn good run,” she said. (Sisko is mum on the subject.)

Maria and her husband, Michael, opened a storefront gallery in the neighborhood before it was even called the Short North. And pm Gallery was one of two prime movers in the first Cooperative Opening, an event probably known better by its subsequent title, Gallery Hop.

“Really catchy,” Maria Galloway sarcastically said of the original event moniker. But she said the event set the stage for what would become a signature Columbus art happening.

“In the beginning, it was art and getting people to not be afraid of the neighborhood,” Galloway said. “The arts really helped to make the perception of danger go away. And we never had to beg anyone to participate. And calling it ‘Gallery Hop' was a little bit of a misnomer, because many of the places were not galleries but were other businesses that showed art. I compiled the listings in those early days, and the only criteria was, ‘If you're showing art, you get listed.'”

The de-emphasis of art in the neighborhood is one reason Galloway cited for the decision to close the gallery.

“It's not so much the construction but just general changes in neighborhood, to focus less on arts and more on entertainment,” she said. The construction has impacted foot traffic on the block where her shop has been located since a 2012 move, Galloway said, but of greater concern to her is that their lease is up this year and she's not sure about signing on for the new terms.

There are personal reasons at work in the decision as well, having to do with the increased self-reliance of the couple's sons and the decreased self-reliance of Galloway's mother.

Galloway will maintain pm Gallery's online presence even after the doors to the Short North space are closed. The gallery has developed a reputation and built a strong client and customer base online in the past five years or so, with a focus on blown-glass ornaments and other glass objects, in addition to pottery, jewelry, paintings and more.

“What I like has always come first,” Galloway said of the more than 300 artists and craftspeople the gallery now represents. “We've just been fortunate that my taste and intuition has often been right.”

May Gallery Hop

Short North Arts District

4-10 p.m. Saturday, May 5