Look for new R. Pela Contemporary Art exhibits in 2016 at Walter Art Gallery in Scottsdale; Central Arts Plaza and Found: Re in Phoenix, and at Pita Jungle on Roosevelt.

R. Pela Contemporary Art to Present Independent Exhibits in 2016;
Gallery Space Will Not Reopen as Planned

(Phoenix, November, 2015) R. Pela Contemporary Art gallery will not reopen in a new location this winter, as originally planned, according to owner Robrt Pela.

The original plan, Pela reports, was to relocate his gallery—which had presented 26 separate solo and group artist exhibits between March of 2013 and June of 2015—to a new space in midtown Phoenix. When the new space wasn’t ready as scheduled, Pela decided to put the gallery on hiatus for the summer.

“And then a bunch of things happened, all at once, that convinced me that maybe reopening wasn’t the best idea, right now,” the gallerist says.

“Bentley Gallery, always a leader among downtown exhibition spaces, downsized from 25,000 square feet to 6,000 square feet,” recalls Pela. “The following week, Scottsdale’s Method Art Gallery closed.” And then, in June, a new, locally based enterprise called Curator Engine, designed to forego the gallery system by connecting artists with collectors, was launched.

“It’s an exciting new business model,” Pela admits, “but one that will have an impact on the traditional gallery industry here.
“The other thing that happened,” Pela says, “is that as soon as I put the gallery on hiatus, I began receiving offers of curatorial work at other galleries and art spaces. Which got me to thinking about reworking my own business model.”

Toward that end, R. Pela Contemporary Art will present shows in 2016 at several locations. The company, which has been displaying visual art at Pita Jungle restaurants throughout the valley since last May, becomes the resident gallery at the newly rechristened Central Arts Plaza, formerly the Viad Tower, on Central Avenue. Pela will present four three-month-long solo exhibits there; featured artists will include renowned sculptor Kevin Caron and distinguished painter Henry Leo Schoebel.

Pela has also scheduled a pair of shows at Scottsdale’s Walter Art Gallery in 2016, and will present the grand opening exhibit at the Found: Re Hotel in spring of next year, as well as continuing to show art at Pita Jungle locations throughout the valley.

“I’m excited about the several R. Pela Contemporary Art exhibits we have planned for 2016,” says Pela, who has been a columnist at Phoenix New Times for the past 24 years, and continues to contribute weekly essays to NPR affiliate KJZZ’s “Morning Edition” program. “Phoenix continues to be a great place to show and curate talented artists, and I look forward to presenting these new exhibits next year.”