No Place Gallery relocating from South Side to Downtown
After James McDevitt-Stredney learned his lease was up at No Place’s longtime South Side home, he launched a fundraiser and will reopen Downtown on April 1
Two days before 2020 turned to 2021, No Place Gallery’s James McDevitt-Stredney learned he had until March 1 to vacate the artist-run space’s South Side home at 1164 S. Front St., where the gallery director set up shop nine years earlier.
The news came as a surprise to McDevitt-Stredney, who not only directed the gallery, but also turned No Place into a multi-pronged endeavor. “I run a gallery space up front, and then I manage studios for artists in the back. And then there's a screen printing [business] and wood shop back there,” he said. “To uproot that amidst a global pandemic … just seemed unreasonable. There’s some lunacy to the request, knowing how we've embedded ourselves into this brick-and-mortar space.”
At the end of January, after private conversations with No Place supporters (many of whom live outside of Columbus), McDevitt-Stredney launched a GoFundMe fundraising effort. “I wanted to offer something to the public when I made the statement, because there are so many people that want to help,” he said.
Last week, McDevitt-Stredney told Alive that No Place has found a new Downtown space, which will open on April 1. The gallery isn’t ready to release the address of the new location just yet, but McDevitt-Stredney said No Place is now booked into the fall. “We’ve got a full summer. We’re ready to roll,” he said.
McDevitt-Stredney opened No Place nine years ago on a whim, never intending to stay long-term. For one, the Front Street spot was an unlikely location for a gallery. But that also helped protect it from gentrifying forces.
“It's in a strange district that's kind of under your fingernail without even knowing it. … It's not enticing property to develop [and] it's not necessarily an industrial district where you can just copy and paste the common Columbus brewery or another restaurant or chain,” he said. “It's always been folks that have construction businesses, dry cleaning. There was a paper company down the street. It's low-impact, and that's what I always really liked about the space. I never felt like we were hurting a community by being here or pushing anyone out just [by] existing.”
The minimal overhead and the different facets of the business helped keep No Place afloat. McDevitt-Stredney also came to love Columbus’ geographical proximity to other major cities, making it relatively easy to pick up and transport pieces from national artists. In that way, No Place has become much more than a local gallery. McDevitt-Stredney sees it as a bridge between the Midwest and the rest of the contemporary art world, especially in a city that often sees graduates of local arts institutions leave Columbus for denser art markets in coastal cities.
While there is plenty he’ll miss about No Place’s old digs, McDevitt-Stredney said the center of the city is a perfect spot for a relaunch. “Downtown has been calling for a clean, nice, well-constructed, well-rounded, contemporary gallery. It hasn't existed here in a very long time,” he said. “I think it will be really rewarding come April when we release this beautiful space that showcases the city's hard work and efforts to keep something like this around.”