March 2, 2024


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Two downtown Colorado Springs galleries combine | Arts & Entertainment

Two popular downtown galleries will now become one.

Abigail Kreuser, who owns Kreuser Gallery, and her next door neighbor, Gundega Stevens, owner of G44 Gallery, are joining to become Auric Gallery. The new name and 2,700-square-foot space will debut Feb. 2 during First Friday. The opening will feature the new exhibit “Gratitude,” in one space, with works by 150 local artists; in the other space will be works by Jon Francis and Kevin Johnson.

Auric will be the second business the pair own together. In 2020, they started Curate Your Space to help people and businesses find art for their walls.

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“Gundi (Stevens) jokes it’s like we’re getting married,” Kreuser said. “To find someone you partner with and have a business with and trust, it’s kind of rare. Personalities can clash, but we work so well together and have the same vision.”

The coupling of the two galleries comes after the pair realized how parallel their lives run. In addition to having a passion for the arts, they both have 7-year-olds — Caius and Aria — whom the gallery is partly named after, along with the word aura. And every month they each do the same tasks and have the same expenses of operating a gallery.

Until now they’ve maintained their businesses, but haven’t grown them. Merging was a way to potentially change that.

“We can streamline, split up tasks and grow our business,” Kreuser said. “We can do the things we wanted to do, but were too tired to do because we’re moms and business owners.”

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Auric will feature more retail items, including pottery and gifts, and more work by multiple artists. The two gallery spaces will continue to rotate two to three monthly exhibits.

Kreuser opened her gallery under the Colorado Avenue bridge in 2011 and moved to its current location at 125 E. Boulder St. in 2019. G44 opened on South Eighth Street in 2012 and moved to 121 E. Boulder St. in 2020.

“Gundi leans toward a contemporary minimalist style,” Kreuser said. “I’ve always shown everything. If I only showed what I liked, I wouldn’t have this business. You have to feed all different types of tastes in the art world. When we curate, we curate and see things so similarly.”

Combining the galleries comes at an auspicious time. While 2022 was Kreuser’s best year, 2023 was tough. Both galleries were down 35%.

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“In this space every year sales and visitors were going up little by little,” she said. “This year if you look at numbers and sales, visitors have been amazing, but buyers not so much. It’s been the worst year in five years. If you look at the retail numbers downtown it’s down.”

Inflation is to blame, Kreuser believes.

“Art is considered a luxury,” she said. “If people are trying to watch their money, that’s not what they’re going to spend money on. We’re so passionate about the business this is another way to pivot, to partner and streamline and keep us alive as small business owners.”

Contact the writer: 636-0270

Contact the writer: 636-0270