Three Rivers Art Center moving to new location

Mike Easterling
Owner Sue Johnson is excited about the new Main Street location for her Three Rivers Art Center, which she believes is a better location.

FARMINGTON – Citing the advantages of better exposure and lower rent, the owner of a downtown art gallery is planning on changing her location to a site on Main Street.

Sue Johnson, owner of the Three Rivers Art Center, said her gallery will open at 123 W. Main St. this week after moving from its old location at 109 N. Allen Ave., only a block away. The new space was home until recently for the SnS Skate Shop, which went out of business.

Johnson was boxing up the inventory of the gallery last week after the painting and remodeling at the new location had been completed. She said she was looking forward to the move.

“We’ve always wanted to be there,” she said of having a location on Main Street.

The new space will be smaller than TRAC’s old location, Johnson said, but she noted the advantages of paying lower rent and having increased visibility would offset that loss of room. She also said the classroom space at the old gallery — where workshops in pottery, beading, painting and other artistic pursuits routinely have been offered — typically wasn’t used to capacity.

“We’ll still have a classroom, but it’ll be a little bit smaller than the old space,” she said.

The new storefront of the Three Rivers Art Center is pictured Jan. 29 in downtown Farmington.

Johnson became interested in making the move as soon as she heard SnS was closing its doors, but she said another tenant already had claimed the vacated space before she could get in touch with the landlord. When that prospective tenant backed out, the landlord called Johnson back and told her it was hers.

“We lucked out, and we got it,” Johnson said. “I think there were several people waiting in line for it.”

In addition to its classes, TRAC presents several art shows each year and is a regular participant in the quarterly downtown gallery walks that have become a showcase for the local visual arts community.

One down side to the move will be the fact that display shelves that Johnson had built in the old location will have to be left behind. But the new location offers other benefits, she said.

“I’m thinking not only will our rent be less, our utilities might be, too, because we’ll have businesses on either side of us,” she said. “It’s also very well lit. The gallery part is much lighter than the one here. So things will be able to be seen a lot better.”

Johnson plans on holding a grand opening celebration for the new space during the quarterly art walk on Friday, Feb. 12. She’s eager to see how people respond to the new surroundings.

Owner Sue Johnson assembles shelves Jan. 29 at the new home of the Three Rivers Art Center on Main St. in Farmington.

“We haven’t heard from a lot of them,” she said of her regular gallery visitors. “But the ones I’ve heard from have been thrilled to death.”

Mike Easterling is the A&E editor of The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4610.