Columbia’s if ART Gallery, a contemporary art gallery with local and international artists represented, has been sold to the executive director of the 701 Center for Contemporary Arts.
Michaela Pilar Brown bought the gallery created by Wim Roefs, the gallerist and owner who died suddenly in May. Located in the Vista neighborhood, if ART is one of the de facto centers for contemporary art in Colombia, alongside Brown’s 701CCA – which Roefs helped found and served as its first executive director.
The sale was announced in an August 24 press release.
“I had great admiration for Wim and the work he did for art and establishing emerging artists,” Brown said in an interview. “I didn’t want to see this space disappear.”
With Brown’s purchase, she clarified that it would require her to step down as director of 701CCA towards the end of the year. Until then, she plans to help ease the transition for whoever gets hired, continue her programming, and operate the gallery.
The statement specified that the if ART gallery would be reduced to its original size in the room that visitors would enter, which includes a loft and gallery space. Brown said that meant the types of events and art he could host would be scaled down to accommodate the smaller size.
After founding if ART in 2006, Roefs has grown significantly in size in the years since.
Roefs, who was known as honest and straightforward in his professional dealings, was widely credited with bridging the gap between classical and contemporary art in Colombia, particularly between his two roles as opener of ART and co-founder of 701CCA.
The gallery has also become the home of avant-garde and free jazz performances much appreciated by musicians from across the country and, at times, the world. However, these performances took place in the adjoining space, which will no longer constitute the gallery.
With her smaller space, Brown said she would do what she could to support events like these, but would likely have to hold “boutique” size events in the future.
Roefs’ wife and collaborator, Eileen Waddell, said Brown was perfectly suited to buy the gallery.
“The gallery is a cultural touchstone for the state that draws patrons from miles around,” Waddell said. “Michaela knows the art world and the artists in the gallery. She knew what the gallery meant to Wim, to the city and to the state. She will take it and make it her own. And we are all looking forward to that. »
The two had discussed buying the gallery after Waddell decided she wanted to sell, Brown detailed.
“In a series of conversations with Eileen, it was fine,” she concluded.
Brown will take over the gallery on September 1, but it won’t open until September 7, with a soft opening, Brown said. It will be open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday to Saturday and by appointment.