Beaver Street Art Gallery: the art gallery you never notice


By Laura Thompson

The elusive art gallery next to Macy’s European Coffeehouse on Beaver Street is alive and thriving.

A great American flag of metal greets visitors as they walk into the Beaver Street Art Gallery’s doors. The walls are lined with facts of elected officials and details about privacy-infringing laws. Most exhibits at the gallery change every two months, but The People’s Business started in April in reaction to the election year and has simply been modified rather than taken down.

The exhibit, created by the gallery’s co-owners David and Barbara Harton, discusses the issue of the Patriot Act and its infringement of privacy. The American flag stands before visitors with the Bill of Rights scrawled across it; the sections which have been nullified by the Patriot Act are blacked out.

“We’re trying to bring attention to the public,” David Harton, the gallery director, said. The other issues covered include term limits, campaign spending of elected officials, foreign relations and military spending.

The Beaver Street Art Gallery opened in 2001 and has been showing exhibits ever since. Although it is not open as often as it used to be, the people of Flagstaff are still welcome to come in and browse the show Fridays through Mondays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“We used to be open seven days a week when things were better, but over the last two years or so, the economy has been bad throughout the country, so it makes sense to be open less,” Harton said.

The gallery is unique because the art shown in the main room, or “Alpha room,” is by just one or two artists. Art must be three-dimensional to be shown in the Alpha room.

There is a second room, the “Delta room,” which houses two-dimensional art by a different artist. The artists usually come to the gallery to ask to be showcased and are chosen based on their style.

The Beaver Street Art Gallery encourages young artists to showcase their work. “We devote part of the gallery space for emerging artists who haven’t had any opportunities,” Harton said.

There have been a few local artists, but because the gallery focuses on contemporary, three-dimensional art, artists come from all over the world.

To encourage a local feel and connection to the community, the gallery gets involved in the First Friday Art Walk. “We are always open for the art walk . . . we are open [from] 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.,” Harton said.

“We thought Flagstaff would be a good environment to show our vision,” Barbara Harton, the gallery manager said.

The People’s Business exhibit will be open for another week to view. The political message and the huge American flag on metal captures the visitor immediately. By December’s First Friday, there will be a completely new exhibit with an entirely different feel.


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