Chinese checkers! That’s what I think of as I watch the gallery space shell game over on Downtown Jackson’s Center Street.
Until quite recently, Mark Tarrant directed Jackson Hole’s Mountain Trails Gallery; he’s now director of the town’s newest gallery, Altamira Fine Art Inc. The upscale gallery will be housed in brand new digs at 172 Center Street, downtown Jackson.
Center Street’s “gallery row,” a block north of Jackson’s antler arched Town Square, is historically one of the town’s most popular art strolls. In the past eighteen months, Jackson’s downtown rents have soared. Diehl Gallery moved to a more affordable location, only to find that the coveted Center Street space it vacated remained empty, and the owners are now offering cheaper rent. Across the road, the venerable DiTommaso Gallery closed its doors last summer. That building was torn down and replaced by a contemporary structure with lots of glass, designed by Jackson-based architect Larry Berlin. (Berlin also does a mean abstract painting—I’ve got one.)
Altamira is its new occupant. The 4500 square foot gallery opened July 1 with John Nieto: American Master. The show runs through July 14.
Meanwhile, Tarrant’s previous shop, Mountain Trails, is expanding, and has moved out of its original Center Street space in order to occupy what is perhaps Wyoming’s most prime commercial space—155 Center Street, sitting pretty on Jackson Town Square’s northeast corner. I stopped into last month’s Gallery Stroll opening and the joint was jumping. My former NMWA co-worker, Ray Polito, is working on some marketing there, and Pam Flores is the new gallery director. That address’ previous tenant, the now defunct Earth & Vine, was rumored to have paid as much as $36,000 per month in rent. Trailside Galleries occupied the same space before Earth and Vine; their new, two-story contemporary stone and timber gallery is located down the road, on East Broadway.
Altamira will specialize in western contemporary art, specifically John Nieto, Rocky Hawkins, Mary Roberson, Greg Woodard, Amy Ringholz, R. Tom Gilleon, Ted Knight, Logan Hagege, Steve Seltzer, Jared Sanders and Paul Rousso. Many of these artists were previously part of Mountain Trail’s roster.
Unfamiliar with the term “altamira,” I did some snooping around. There are a series of complex Spanish Altamira caves, Altamira hotels…Altamira is also a Sausalito, California treatment center, but I bet the gallery hopes to invoke visions of beautiful alpine vistas. And hey, art is always good therapy. Welcome, Altamira!
The gallery’s new website is www.altamiraart.com.