3060 Gallery to close in Hilltop this month
Owner Kelly Reichert is at peace with the decision, saying, ‘We did what we set out to do,’ but still mourns what is being lost
Standing inside 3060 Gallery in the Hilltop neighborhood in early December, owner Kelly Reichert said she was at peace with the sudden and looming closing of the community art space.
“I really feel like we did what we set out to do,” said Reichert, who took over gallery operations roughly two years ago, just weeks before the pandemic reshaped the entire art world. “We have a culture of honoring our artists and making art accessible in an underserved area. … We were able to create an environment where new artists, or even veteran artists, could show their work in a space where they felt seen and heard and valued, and where they had a real platform.”
Though Reichert exuded gratitude and calm in discussing her two years at the helm, she also acknowledged that the closure is a loss for both the West Side neighborhood, which isn’t exactly teeming with galleries, as well as for the city's art scene as a whole, since there will now be one less independent spot where artists can display.
“I’m sorry emerging artists in the city are losing a venue,” said Reichert, who pointed to the number of creators who held their debuts in the space, including Bryn Reagan, a recent college grad whose work is currently on display. “A lot of people have said, ‘This is the first place I’ve shown in Columbus. I’m so excited. This is so great.’ And I think it’s because we’re really easy on you. It’s an easy place to show. There’s no pressure.”
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This ease extended to patrons, as well, with Reichert focused on cultivating an inviting space that didn’t feel walled off from the surrounding neighborhood, aware that art galleries, to some, can be intimidating places. “[People] feel like they’re being watched, or like they have to buy something,” she said.
3060, in contrast, opened its doors to everyone from casual browsers to children, with Reichert recalling youth-led dance parties and those quieter moments when someone with previously limited exposure to art connected deeply with a piece.
“Some people just stop, and then you watch them get closer and closer and closer, and you can just see the wheels turning,” Reichert said. “They’re trying to figure out how it was made, what it means. And it’s awesome to watch. … I love seeing someone completely stopped in their tracks, and I do think it can change somebody’s entire perspective.”
Reichert said she didn’t see the closure coming, and that it progressed quickly following initial conversations with the property owner three weeks ago in which the two were unable to come to terms on a lease extension. “It took a minute to process what that meant, and that we didn’t have a workable means to go forward,” said Reichert, who described the property owner as having “a different vision” for the space. “And that’s OK. He’s super committed to the neighborhood and the community at large. … His vision is just as valid as ours, and he certainly has everybody’s best interests at heart.”
Once it became clear that the gallery would not be able to extend its lease, Reichert said there was no thought given to trying to find another space or attempting to relocate. “I’m not really at a point in my life where starting over is feasible for me,” she said. Instead, she pivoted quickly to embracing the gallery’s final days of operation, with the space currently set to close to the public at the end of business on Christmas Eve (Friday, Dec. 24).
Following the holiday weekend, the gallery will remain open by appointment only through the end of December, at which point Reichert plans to take some time off to recharge before pivoting to whatever might be next.
“It’s nice that it’s winter because I can kind of just take a step back, be a little insular and spend some more concentrated time on my own artwork, which has really taken a backseat [these last two years],” Reichert said. “I’m a person of faith, so I believe there’s a plan and that it’s good. And now I’m just going to wait and see what presents itself.”