CALUMET - After five years of providing an outlet for local artists' work and a place for residents to see that work, the Vertin Gallery on Oak Street in Calumet has closed for financial reasons.
Although building owner Tim Lyons could not be reached for comment about the closing of the gallery, a written statement from him on the door and windows of the ground floor stated: "Please be advised we are closing the Vertin Gallery as of November 9, 2012. We have enjoyed working with everyone of you. Unfortunately, financial constraints necessitates the closing of the retail gallery. Thank you for your patience in this matter."
According to the gallery's website, vertingallery.com, in 1885, brothers John and Joseph Vertin constructed the building at the corner of Sixth and Oak for their Vertin's Department Store, which closed in 1985. In 2004, there were studios on the second floor for some artists who eventually formed a cooperative and began exhibiting their work on the ground floor. In 2007, the cooperative reformed into a consignment gallery.
After five years of operation, the Vertin Gallery at the corner of Sixth and Oak streets in Calumet is closed due to financial constraints. The gallery provided an outlet for Copper?Country artists work. (Houghton Daily Mining Gazette photo by Kurt Hauglie)
Tom Rudd, owner of Gallerie Boheme at 423 Fifth St. in Calumet, which opened in August 2011, said the closing of the Vertin Gallery is unfortunate for the art community and Calumet because it's been a mainstay for so many years.
"It's going to leave a big hole," he said.
Rudd said he had planned to close his gallery for the winter, but he's since changed his mind.
"Since the Vertin closed, we decided to stay open," he said.
Rudd said the Vertin Gallery was a popular stop for people taking part in the First Fridays, for which galleries stayed open later than usual so people could stop in and see what they had to offer.
There are a relatively large number of galleries in Calumet, Rudd said, which means there are plenty of outlets for artists.
"There are a lot of artists in the (Upper Peninsula)," he said.
Rudd said the Vertin Gallery had 150 to 200 artists displaying work in the gallery.
In a written statement, Miriam Pickens of Copper Country Associated Artists wrote in part, "We are really sad to see the Vertin closed, and are hoping some day for another art gallery to take its place. At the CCAA, we know that there are local artists looking for a venue, and we are happy to accept new members. We are an all volunteer operation, however. We certainly see no reason to backpedal because of this, and along with the other galleries will redouble our efforts to keep Calumet the arts community it has become. ..."