A lot can change in a decade. Tilt Gallery, a Phoenix photography favorite, will celebrate its 10-year anniversary this fall by letting go of one old space and saying hello to a brand new one.
Founded on Grand Avenue in downtown Phoenix by Melanie and Michelle Craven, Tilt has matured without losing sight of its original ambitions. The gallery expanded early on to fill two separate spaces: Tilt, a conventional photography gallery, and Tilt 2 Community, a more experimental space for workshops and student exhibitions. After eight and a half years in Phoenix, the Cravens moved Tilt to its current Main Street Scottsdale location, keeping Tilt 2 Community alive and operational at 915 West Fillmore Street in Phoenix.
Melanie says that the move to Scottsdale has been nothing but positive. She praises Phoenix, but embraces the pragmatism of the move. "In Phoenix, we were in a residential neighborhood; we were able to bring in masters of their field and gain credibility and support, but we were only able to be open on first and third Fridays and by appointment. Scottsdale is more of a gallery destination, what we do is more accessible here."
Being open five days a week at the Main Street location has not come without a cost. The Cravens recently decided to put their West Fillmore Street community space up for sale. They wish to continue hosting workshops and participating in Grand Avenue events until the house sells, but recognize the inevitability of Tilt 2 Community's closing.
The sale will allow them to direct their focus back towards Tilt. The gallery will close for the month of October, and reopen in a different (and as of yet undetermined) location on Main Street in Scottsdale. The Cravens plan to use this time to ready the new space and plan juried shows.
Tilt's current exhibition is a combination of two separate showings by S. Gayle Stevens. The first, "Disappearance," highlights the collapse of the bee population. One hundred two-inch square photography plates form an interactive piece of the exhibition. Visitors can buy a plate from the arrangement with 10 percent of the proceeds going to supporting bee preservation. The goal is to sell as many plates as possible, thus symbolically "disappearing" the exhibit.
The second show, titled "Nocturnes," features depictions of the Missisippi Gulf Coast. Shot on a homemade pinhole camera loaded with gigantic wet-plate collodial tintypes, the images reflect the tidal comings and goings of the ocean at various points in the day and night. As Melanie so delightfully puts it, these images are a visual representation of the "melody of waves, the ebb and flow of everything."
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Allow me to scratch the surface ever so slightly: both "Disappearance" and "Nocturnes" just might be symbolic of Tilt itself. The gallery has seen many photographs come and go. The Cravens have said hello and goodbye to walls and ceilings and entire neighborhoods. They have stretched to reach new audiences, and have retreated when it was time to retreat. Tilt's growth as a gallery has been curated as carefully as any of its exhibitions.
The closing reception for "Nocturnes" and "Disappearance" will be held on Thursday, September 25, from 7 to 9 p.m. at 7046 Main Street in Scottsdale. The gallery will reopen at its new location in November.