After 22 years of art business in Scottsdale, Bentley Calverley is on the move.
The director of Bentley Gallery, at 4161 N. Marshall Way Scottsdale, has had a huge part in shaping the Scottsdale art scene. She served on the Cultural Council when the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art was built, she's run a successful gallery alongside Marshall Way staples including Lisa Sette and Art One, and she helped revitalize vacant spaces in Scottsdale with a string of pop-up galleries in 2010.
In 2004, Calverley bought a warehouse and established Bentley Projects south of the train tracks in downtown Phoenix. And this October, she'll pack up her Scottsdale Gallery and focus solely on her Downtown venture --mostly, she says, because she's excited about the growth of the Downtown art scene.
"I'm very impressed with how Downtown is becoming more of a gathering place. Cityscape was a phenomenal idea, Palomar adds variation to the hotel scene. There are more galleries, more students ... it's a much livelier place than it was 10 years ago."
According to Calverley, the gallery will be housed in the Bentley Projects and will enable her to showcase bigger artwork. "If my artists can ship me the work, I can show it," she says.
Her artists include Jun Kaneko, Robert Kelly, David T. Kessler, Judith Kruger, Rogelio (Gory) Lopez Marin, James Marshall, Ricardo Mazal, the Moulthrop family, Lawrence Fodor, Judith Foosaner, and Makoto Fujimura (to name a few), whose work will be featured beginning November, 2012.
Along with bigger artwork, Calverley hopes to provide a space for Downtown artists and art patrons, including commercial representatives (and potential hotel art buyers), to see and purchase artwork. Tentative hours are set for appointments on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and public hours Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.. She says she's still working out details and hopes to stay open later for Third Friday, as well as to participate in annual events including Art Detour (currently scheduled for March 2013), even though the building's location is notably off the beaten arts path at 215 East Grant Street.
The gallery owner says she's heard from a few Downtown arts community members who are excited to see her around town and from a few of her longtime neighbors on Marshall Way in Scottsdale, who are sad to see her go.
"It's absolutely devastating," says Kraig Foote, who's owned Art One Gallery on the same block for almost 20 years. "Bentley has been so good to us and so good to this community. It's a hard chunk to hear."
Foote says it's been a better summer than most on Marshall Way. After a tough year in the art industry, he's seeing more architects and developers stop in to buy work for new projects. But after a heavy sigh, he says he's on his way to talk to Calverley directly and that can now he (and the Scottsdale art community) can only hope another strong gallery snatches up the empty building.
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"Change is always difficult -- it's difficult for me too," says Calverley. "I live in Scottsdale, so I'll still be involved in the art scene; I'll continue to support SMoCA. But this is a move I needed to make and it will give my artists a wider opportunity to express themselves."
Bentley Calverley spoke on camera for SMoCA's Contemporary Catalyst award in 2009: