Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Castell Gallery Closing

Today's email brings the sad news that the exceptionally fine Castell Photography Gallery in Asheville is closing. 

We are told that Gallery owner Brie Castell is moving to Another Land, precipitating her decision to close the Gallery after six years of operation. 

The final show is the one now up, which will close the Gallery when it ends on June 20th, 2015.

This is all well and good, and a woman's gotta do what a woman's gotta do, and Brie Castell  is a Fine Person, exceptionally able, organized, creative, and imaginative, who deserves to thrive and prosper and to find her own way in the world.

But, still, one dreams of a time when a place like Asheville -- of all places in the American South -- would support and sustain a person like Castell and an enterprise like the Castell Gallery for the long as well as the short term.

In my experience, in smaller cities especially, when a gallery folds up, there is a tear in the cultural fabric that is hard to repair.

This will be especially true, I think, of the Castell Gallery, with its elegant and well-designed interior, with the thoughtful selection of outstanding photographs by exceptionally talented photographers, and, of course with its really cool address in downtown Asheville. 

One hopes that places like Asheville, or for that matter, any of the smaller cities in the South, can be their own places, serving as incubators for folk's energy and creativity and celebration of the arts.

Clearly, that time is not yet. 

But in the meantime, we can celebrate the six years that the Castell Gallery has graced downtown Asheville, at 2C Wilson Alley.

We can congratulate Brie and her Gallery Director Heidi Gruner on their six-year run, celebrate all the fine photographers whose work has been on exhibit at the Castell Gallery, and enjoy -- if we are able -- a farewell party for the gallery on Friday, June 19th, beginning at 6:00 pm. 

I'll be there in spirit, if not in body. 

Blessings to both Brie and Heidi, and good wishes as they continue their journeys in the wider world of fine art photography.


  1. This is truly sad news. We have too few galleries in the South as it is, and losing this one is a blow!

  2. Please don't count Asheville out based on Castell's closing, John. There is strong energy in town these days and lots of interesting work going on, conversations being had, etc. Castell's presence will be missed, to be sure, but there are numerous non-profits and new artist-run spaces that are working hard to engage the public with thoughtful, challenging exhibitions and programming. I have to disagree with your assessment that, "that time is not yet."

    1. Thank you for this reassurance! You give me hope, and for that I am grateful. Please let me know of galleries in Asheville that feature photography so I can keep track of them on the blog.

  3. Thank you so much for this lovely tribute, John! Like Brie said, we were both really moved reading it last night. The responses that we received yesterday made sharing the news go down a bit easier, and we're really grateful.

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  5. Thank you so much John for this eloquent and thoughtful piece. We have been overwhelmed by the response to our closing — It has reminded us just how much we are loved, and how highly we have been regarded, making it all the more bittersweet. It’s sad to say goodbye, but new adventures await…