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Art on a Mission

"It’s not everyday that someone can change the heart of a city with a 10 foot by 10 foot storage locker, but that’s exactly what Anne Condit is working toward everyday in downtown Huntsville.

“Downtown, is really starting to grow, but for it to really achieve it’s potential, I think we need a greater presence of the arts here,” said Condit.

That’s the goal behind her new contemporary art gallery: Live Easy, or L/E gallery. “Our mission as a gallery is to promote local artists and promote the creative culture of downtown,” she said.

As an artist herself, Condit understands how difficult it can be for local artists to even get their work seen in the first place, let alone into a gallery.

“One of the main things I’ve heard from artists is, ‘I just don’t have time. I love to do this, but I don’t have all that’s necessary to promote my art,’” said Condit. “That’s where I step in.”

Currently representing eight artists, in mediums such as photography, painting, drawing and jewelry, Condit is proud to be the first representation for many of them.

“I love art. And I love to help people. I am very passionate about letting people make a living by doing what they want and I’m helping people get one step closer to that. And that’s really what it’s all about to me.”

Condit was also able to follow her own passions and open the gallery thanks to some like-minded individuals.

“I went to the Pop Up Park event downtown in November and they had a big black board up there and they were asking people ‘what can we do to make downtown more innovative?’ or ‘what does downtown Huntsville need?’ and I wrote ‘a contemporary art gallery.’”

Seen writing this, she was invited to come to a community start up meeting. There she found out about the Clinton Row project for business incubator spaces inside an old storage facility. HOT (Huntsville Open Tech) Coffee had acquired two of the storage spaces in the project with the intention of opening an art gallery and a gift shop.

“I, of course, volunteered to do the art gallery because that’s exactly what I wanted to do,” Condit said. “Now, I have this little, itty bitty, 10 foot by 10 foot art gallery crammed to the walls with local artists.”

And while Condit has enjoyed every minute of running the gallery, she’s the first to admit that the unusual space has presented an interesting set of challenges.

“We’ve had to hang work in a way that most galleries wouldn’t,” she said, noting that they’ve adopted a salon-style approach to hanging work, which allows as many paintings on a wall as possible.

Ironically, her biggest challenge? Storage space.

“I’ll have artists bring me new work and I have to be careful not to just let it pile up against the wall cause I don’t really have any storage space,” she said. “That’s the funny thing, it’s a storage unit but I don’t have any storage. My storage unit is the gallery so I have to be very careful with the work that is not hanging up at the moment.”

Looking ahead, Condit hopes the L/E Gallery can help create a Huntsville with art everywhere. However, she explains, she can’t do it without the support of the Huntsville community.

“I know you can go down to Homegoods and Marshalls and buy a nice looking painting for $18 bucks, but you’re not going to know the artist, you’re not going to know that it was made in your hometown, and you’re definitely not supporting your community in purchasing that.”

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