"I was slowly going to lose it at the other place. I couldn't keep showing in Hyde Park," Deatherage says. "The Crossroads is a great thing for the arts scene, but if you are not a part of it, it's just impossible. I'm still the very end of it. But I kind of like that, because people are going to have to want to come here."
The decision to move was easy. The move was not. "It was a pain in the ass," he says. "I felt like I had sucked off an entire fire department." Which is to say he put in a lot of man-hours.
Prior to June's First Friday, Deatherage spent six weeks rehabbing a former Zenith repair shop into a space fit to show art. He covered some of the walls with Sheetrock or corrugated metal; he left others with layers of chipping blue paint, peeling plaster and tiny bits of floral wallpaper. The result is a shabby-chic décor that would knock the $40 socks off any Anthropologie stylist. Using a decorating tip that sounds like the kind of thing Martha Stewart might pick up in prison, Deatherage painted the ceilings black to disguise smoke damage left by a fire years ago.
But there's still plenty of work left to do. Deatherage is fashioning the second floor into a living area and additional gallery space, and he wants to add a patio outside for gardening and sculpture shows.
When he's not working, the art dealer is getting to know his neighbors. "Right now, we are spending time sitting on the stoop outside having our cocktails and talking to the street people," he says. "It's fun."
The current show, Nocturnal, displays paintings of female nudes by Christian Simms. Unfortunately, though, turnout for the gallery's first two shows was smaller than Deatherage had hoped. "There's a lot of good galleries in town," he says. "There's always some good art being shown. And the scene is awesome. So there's a lot to compete with."
But he's certain that traffic will pick up. "Word will get out. I'm notorious enough. I'm scandalous enough. I'll do something obscene in the damn parking lot."