In the sad days after the passing of artist and Big Sun Studios owner Lewis Kalmbach came the questions of what would become of his colorful art business at 619 Edwards Street.
Kalmbach was nothing if not creative, intensely so. I remember his first conversation about the colors he wanted to paint the then-unattractive little beige building. “I don’t know if you’re going to like it,” he told me. “I want to go white and orange and turquoise.” “Like Palm Springs?” I asked. “Yes,” Lewis said. “I LOVE IT!” I yelled. It seemed almost everyone loved everything Lewis did there, from the colors to the feel to the art to his willingness to become a real partner to downtown. There was never an artwalk, a weekend event or a special ask that he was unwilling to agree to.
When someone spray painted a hateful word on the front of a construction site nearby, he paid for artists to cover it with a beautiful Ode to Ukraine. Big Sun Studios was a Lewis ‘love,’ but as much as that, it felt like it was also a gift to others. We are thrilled that the love remains.
An event Lewis was planning prior to his passing is moving forward; ‘Night Gallery’ coming up in October, is open to any artists who wish to apply. This Saturday is the first public event planned by new studios manager Julian Tizian, an exhibit featuring abstract painter Uriah Oxford and music by Alan Dyson.
“Lewis’ dream will continue,” says Tizian, who is also Lewis’ nephew. “We plan to take what he implemented at the gallery and go a little further with an ‘artist’s clubhouse’ concept. We will have bands and music and host events.” Tizian sees a gap in gathering spaces for creatives in the wake of Minicine’s closing, and hopes that Big Sun Studios can create something similar to fill the void.
Whatever is curated there must involve ‘something on the walls’, Tizian says. “It can be any type of event, but the walls cannot be naked.”
Meantime, Tizian has put together a crew dedicated to continuing the dream- Brad Negrotto will be their in-house videographer, Parker Deaton will handle graphic design, social media nd event programming, Michael Miller is the Curator and Andy Benedetto, in-house audio.
The studio will continue to open on artwalks (the next one is Nov. 4) and plans are in the works for upcoming art exhibits. For information about events or exhibits, contact the team here.