Gallery closes one door opens another

Owner Must Purge Himself of Past Burdens

“This is the story about the death of a dream. It is a story about when a passion ends. It is a bittersweet story. It is about doing the right thing even when it is the more difficult path to take. It is about beating one’s head against the wall for so long that one finally says ‘enough already.’ At the same time it is a story of hope. Hope for a new future; a desire to start afresh and move forward without holding on to excess baggage.”

These are the heartfelt words of Daniel Lindley who earlier this year was forced to close his art space the Keystone Gallery located in Art Central. He’s not only purging himself of his past burdens figuratively he will also do so literally in a massive one-day art sale.

With more than 1000 pieces of art in storage Lindley plans to fill the Crescent Heights Community Association with as much art as he can fit into his vehicle in hopes of a clean slate.

He solemnly attributes the demise of his business to a combination of factors not least of which was bad timing. Lindley vividly recalls the precise date that the art market crashed — September 2008. Along with untimely nearby construction inconvenient parking and unreliable transit on weekends he also blames poor judgement on his part.

Naturally any small business is associated with great risk but in the case of an art gallery the risk is multiplied he says. Relying on a few large sales rather than many small ones to survive means needing a large cash reserve or a partner with loads of money to compensate for the drastic fluctuations in revenue.

Despite the unfavourable outcome Lindley has no regrets about pouring his heart and soul into his business — he’s been part of the art industry for over 20 years.

“I took a risk and that’s what happens” he says “I made my bed and I’m sleeping in it. I made the right choices at the time.”

Unlike other arts administrators his passion developed organically. Previously working for an insurance company he knew sitting behind a desk was not for him. “I like people” he says “I like getting out there and talking to them.”

Lindley was first exposed to the art world through volunteer roles which eventually landed him jobs at art galleries where he became hooked on the lifestyle of being surrounded by beautiful objects and partaking in a growing industry.

“The art industry” he says “is one of the most educated requiring at least a master’s degree and yet it is one of the worst paid which I guess says something about how much we value art in Western Canada.”

Although appreciation for artists and art administrators is lacking in our society Lindley remains hopeful for the future. Facing an all-to-familiar conundrum of whether to pursue passion or security he is torn about which way to go.

“Should I follow the dream or should I do as my father recently suggested and get a job?”

The one-day sale he hopes will help him determine what’s next. But one thing’s for sure: “No matter what happens I will still be involved in the art community in some capacity. I have too much knowledge experience and contacts to walk away from it completely.”