BY BRIDGETT HENWOOD
It is not always easy keeping an art gallery going during a recession, but photographer Kendall Reeves’ Gallery406 is doing just fine. Opened five years ago, it moved in 2011 from South Walnut to the Wicks Building on the north side of the downtown Square, and that has made a difference.
Traffic in the gallery during the bimonthly Gallery Walk has more than tripled since the move, says Reeves. A different artist is exhibited during each Gallery Walk (on the first Friday in October, December, February, April, June, and August), and a small exhibit of Reeves’ photos is always on display.
Reeves is a Bloomington native with more than 30 years of photography experience. “I guess I started in eighth-grade science,” he says. On a Friday, a teacher asked him if he was interested in learning to develop black-and-white film. The next Monday, Reeves says, “I brought in a roll of film, processed it, printed it, and loved it.”
In 1989, after studying commercial photography at Ivy Tech Community College-Columbus, which he calls the “best-kept secret” in photography and design education, Reeves opened Spectrum Studio of Photography & Design in Bloomington. The commercial side of the business is still his mainstay, he says, encompassing “a wide range of photographs that either sell a service or a product.”
Reeves has taken several recognizable Bloomington pictures, like his overhead shot of the downtown Square lit with the Canopy of Lights. Many of his Bloomington photographs can be found in the coffee-table book Bloomington: A Contemporary Portrait (Community Communications, 1998) that he produced with the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce. He continues to capture local images for his postcard series sold at the gallery.
Reeves credits his practical side for the success of Gallery406 in a town that has lost several art galleries during the recession. “Even though I’m an artist, I’m also a businessperson,” he says. While he admits that the gallery isn’t a moneymaker, his commercial work keeps it open. “Those are the services that really pay the rent.”