Louisville prides itself on being an artistic city, and it’s not unusual for an artist to reinvent him- or herself. After 28 years, Swanson Reed Galleries, located at 1377 Bardstown Rd. in the Highlands, is taking itself in a new direction: NuLu.
After this month, owners Chuck Swanson and Susan Reed will focus their energies on their Swanson Reed Contemporary gallery downtown 638 East Market St. According to Swanson, the reasons are both personal and business. “It’s a combination of things, really,” he says. “I haven’t actually worked there in 12 years except for Bardstown Road Aglow. It’s not very close to me anymore, even though it was a business that I started, and I still like it.” While he says that the downtown vibe and clientele are very different than those in the Highlands—with exhibits changing every five weeks downtown and Bardstown Road being more of a retail outlet—Swanson says he feels like “its time is sort of coming.”
Swanson, who is half-owner of the Bardstown Road building with former partner Lynn Cralle, would “love to see an up-and-coming local business.” Swanson, Reed and Cralle have seen quite a few up-and-coming talents over two Highlands locations in the last three decades. “There has been a lot of artists who have shown there over the years, and our employees—very, very talented people—have gone on to do some crazy, interesting things,” including Jacob Heustis, who plays bass in the band Wax Fang. (Heustis, in turn, created a new start for the latest ear X-tacy location when his band inaugurated the store with a live concert this past August.) Swanson is considering ending the Highland gallery’s illustrious run with a bang, such as having a studio sale and party for the artists whose work has been featured there over the years.
Swanson, an artist, and Reed, who is also a therapist, look forward to digging into the Contemporary side of their enterprise. “Things are happening,” Swanson says of the area, which is gaining new establishments all the time. “This spring is going to be really exciting.” As for the Bardstown Road fixture, Swanson admits, “We’ve thought of doing this every January for the last three years, but this year seemed to be different.” Still, there’s a lot of life left in the old place, and anyone who wishes to pick up the torch and move into the building is invited to call Lynn Cralle at 425-0284 if interested.
Swanson Reed Galleries  is set to close its doors Monday, January 31. All non-consignment items are currently 30 percent off the ticket price, increasing to 40 percent off as of Saturday, January 22. Please feel free to check the window, call (452-2904), or stop by for updated discounts as the closing date approaches.
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Photo: Courtesy Signwaves