Campbell Steele ending retail art sales

Renovated Memorial Hall will include new gallery

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A business decision by the owners of the Campbell Steele Gallery in Marion has created an opportunity for the owners of a historic building in the community.

After 23 years of selling artwork, Craig Campbell and Priscilla Steele plan to transition away from a retail sales gallery to a working art studio and performance venue. Steele said the change will allow her to focus on her artwork.

“I will be working up front with my print etching press as well as cultivating the performance end of the business,” Steele said. “Our timeline for this transition is fairly generous. I hope that the artists we have represented will consider transitioning to a gallery that Jeanne and Paul Matthews plan to open in Memorial Hall.”

Campbell said the retail art sales will end no later than Dec. 31. Steele is planning four exhibits of her artwork in the gallery through the end of 2014, along with additional exhibits in Cedar Falls, Des Moines, Fairfield and Waterloo.

As far as the entertainment side of the business, Campbell said 25 music performances are scheduled at Campbell Steele through Feb. 14, 2015. The venue has developed a reputation for the quality of its light and sound production studio, attracting performers such as Michael Johnson, Bob Dorr & the Blue Band, the George Jazz Group and Funk Daddies.

With the encouragement and support of Campbell and Steele, Jeanne and Paul Matthews expect to have an art gallery open in about 90 days on the first floor of the renovated Memorial Hall, built in 1899 at 760 11th St.

“The first floor will be divided into two suites,” Jeanne Matthews said. “The gallery will be located in the front of the building where there is premium storefront space and I think we’re turning the back into a British pub.

“We plan to live on the second floor of the building.”

Matthews has contacted many of the artists who have been represented by Campbell Steele and all but one have expressed interest in moving to the new Memorial Hall art gallery.

“Some of the art is so valuable that it will be held by Campbell Steele until we’re able to literally transfer it across the alley to the new gallery,” Matthews said.

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