Buckham Gallery moving into downtown Flint's iconic Perry Drugs building

FLINT, Michigan — The new year is bringing many changes to downtown Flint. Among those will be the biggest change in Buckham Gallery’s long history – a move. Founded in late 1983 by a group of Flint-area artists looking to create a space for art and performances, the gallery has become a staple of the Flint arts scene and a pillar of the monthly downtown Flint Artwalk.

Since its very beginning, Buckham Gallery has been located at 134 ½ W. Second St. — up a very steep staircase to a second floor space overlooking the alley. Those stairs always caused accessibility issues and gallery board members had been hoping to move for years. 

With support from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, the gallery now is moving just across the street — and to the ground floor. Buckham Gallery will join Elga Credit Union in the former Perry Drugs building at 600 S. Saginaw St. 

The building with the iconic curved facade sits at the corner of Saginaw and Second Street, directly across from the new Mott Culinary Arts building and Dryden Building.  

“We have a huge amount of gratitude for the Mott Foundation for their support,” gallery director Lynn Penning said. Development and construction of the new building was managed by Uptown Reinvestment Corporation. The Mott Foundation gave Buckham Gallery a $30,000 general purposes grant in 2018.

Related story: State awards $200,000 grant to support development of former Perry Drugs building

While the gallery itself is a little smaller, the new space offers wide doors that can open automatically with the press of a button, smooth floors (featuring the original black and white tiles), and accessible bathrooms, she said. 

The new location also offers the opportunity to move some of the walls to change the gallery layout for different shows, Penning added. 

Buckham Gallery also is launching a new schedule of shows that coincides with the move. It will offer a six-week Winter Series in February and March designed to engage families, young people, and adults. 

An Emerging Artist Mentorship Program is planned for the spring to encourage and develop area artists. The gallery also is looking to create monthly senior programming with additional daytime hours. 

The old and new locations will be celebrated during the Second Friday Artwalk this week, 6-9 p.m. Jan. 11, 2019.

The original gallery space will host a retrospective of the artists and members, honoring the 35 years of work that helped Buckham Gallery grow and thrive during its first chapter at 134 ½ W. Second St. 

The new gallery space will host an opening ceremony and its new show, “Chapter 2: The Premiere Exhibition,” sponsored by Security First Insurance Agency. 

For more information, visit www.buckhamgallery.org.
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