The sizable gallery where John Fielder and a dozen other photographers display their work on Santa Fe will close by Aug. 1.
John Fielder’s Colorado has occupied the 6,250-square-foot building at 833 Santa Fe Drive since 2006. He also leases out space in the building to a dozen other photographers, and the gallery’s a popular spot on First Fridays.
“At this stage in my life, going to the city is less and less convenient — so that’s the personal side of it,” said Fielder, who lives in Summit County and is known for large, sweeping prints of Colorado’s landscapes. (Check out his recreations of historical images, too.)
Fielder bought the place in 2010 for $750,000, according to Denver property records.
“The business side is that, as you may know, rents are going up a lot in many of these restored neighborhoods in Denver. Especially with the art districts, I know there’s pressure on art galleries who do pay rent,” he said.
“Even though I don’t pay rent because I own the building, this affects me too, in the sense that I can actually make more money from leasing to a tenant than the gallery business,” he said.
Fielder’s about to sign a lease with an events company out of California, which plans to knock down interior walls and turn the former auto shop into a reception hall.
“They’ll mostly do weddings in what they see as an interesting historical area with some character to it,” Fielder said. The place was built in the 1920s and also has served as a photo development lab, he said.
Fielder will continue his photography work — now 67, he just finished a nine-day trip down the Delores River — but he’ll do most of his business through JohnFielder.com now. He expects he might reopen a physical gallery in Cherry Creek North one day.
In the meantime, about 150 photographs are on sale at the gallery for a 40 percent discount.
The changes at the space will be a loss for the arts community, according to Tony Eitzel, a framer and photographer who has long worked with Fielder.
“It’s allowed so many people to see what it’s like to be in a big gallery … also, to succeed. That’s a huge thing that’s going to be missing for photographers,” he said. “That’s the sad part, but you know, things end.”
Kevin Beaty contributed to this report.