Tight times shuts art gallery
SEVEN months after converting the former Congregational Church in Ipswich into the Naked Arts gallery the fledgling business has closed its doors.
Owners Tom and Lyn Mason closed the gallery last week, having decided two months ago that the venture was unsustainable.
The leading contributing factor to the closure was poor sales, which the couple said was due to Queensland's ongoing economic uncertainty.
Naked Arts opened in November as a welcome addition to Ipswich and its growing reputation as an arts hub.
The picture has changed somewhat since then, with art spot and cafe Tirra Lirra and the longstanding Dingley Dell also closing in recent months.
Mr Mason said although attendances at the gallery were high, people weren't reaching into their pockets to buy pieces of art.
"We were getting heaps of people coming through. We were really pleased with that and the comments from everyone were that this is great; this is what Ipswich really needs. But beautiful comments don't pay the bills," he said.
He was disheartened the venture didn't reach the heights he had hoped for.
"We have had a lot of people express disappointment. We have had lots of people say, when we leave here, where will we set up? We have also heard from a couple of promising artists that Ipswich just isn't ready. It's a shame. Ipswich just looked like it was getting on a bit of a roll."
Mr Mason said he couldn't wait it out until the economic situation revived.
"I'm disappointed," he said. "The building and the gallery had huge potential."
He will continue with his photography and take the chance to revisit his painting.
He thanked the community for their support, especially Mayor Paul Pisasale and Cr Charlie Pisasale for their encouragement.