On Strawberry Alley, the newly renovated side street in downtown Clarksville, workers and artists keep slipping into a small, non-descript storefront.
Inside, they’re busy ripping up old carpet, painting walls white and installing track lighting.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do,” Gregg Schlanger, APSU professor of art, said.
That’s because he hopes to open the space sometime this fall under the name “Austin Peay Downtown Gallery,” giving the University an off-campus site to highlight the talents of former art students.
“Basically, the main purpose of this gallery is to feature the work of alumni, but it will also be a chance to highlight the faculty,” he said. “We’ve got some amazing people out there, some successful artists who’ve been through our program.”
The APSU Center of Excellence for the Creative Arts recently leased the two-story building, with the intent of bringing a “contemporary gallery” to the Clarksville community, Schlanger said. He’ll work as the venue’s director during this inaugural year, and he hopes it’ll become a regular destination for people, particularly during the Historic Downtown District’s monthly First Thursday Art Walk events.
“It’s a short space, but we’ll be able to easily feature two artists, one upstairs and one downstairs,” Schlanger said. “We’ll do group shows and there’s potential to do some different kinds of exhibits.”
The Austin Peay Downtown Gallery doesn’t have an official opening day set yet, but Schlanger plans to welcome people inside sometime in October.
“We’re going to add to what’s going on around here,” he said. “It’s a way to help our alumni who are out there trying to build their careers. It gives them a line on their resume and allows us to brag about our program.”