Last night, February 3rd, IDW Publishing and Media held the official reopening of their own San Diego Comic Art Gallery. It had been reported by The Beat in early of last December that the gallery would be underway for some major changes.
Following the end of their 30 Days of Night exhibit, the gallery closed so that it could be converted from a dynamic space with rotating exhibits to that of permanently hanging art pieces. The gallery’s retail aspect had also been removed during this time. Sources close to the gallery had reported that this was for the most part due to individuals with an accounting mindset seeing the space as no more of a showcase, but instead as a drain on IDW resources.
For the reopening, Ted Adams, founder and CEO of IDW Media Holdings, was personally on hand. He shared stories of his company’s humble beginnings, highlighting the collage of photos that now greet visitors upon entering the art space. Roughly a dozen people were present for this personal presentation, most of which who were IDW employees past and present. The small number was not surprising, as IDW themselves did little publicly in the way of announcing the gallery changeover.
The Comic Art Gallery has for the most part still retained the purpose of educating people the comic book and graphic arts. In two corners of the gallery space, monitors show step-by-step instruction of how graphics are edited and colored using software. Along the walls, hanging pieces of art from the likes of 30 Days of Night, Locke & Key, and even My Little Pony give visitors a rough understanding of the different styles of art present in comics and graphic novels. As for the center of the room, it is largely open to comfortably-accommodate foot traffic, save for a few large statues and standing glass displays.
Despite these artistic and cost-effective changes, the gallery was first and foremost dedicated in June of 2015 with the intention of being a dynamic space, meant to engage and showcase the comic and graphic artform. With it now housing permanent pieces instead of its original purpose of rotating ones, will the gallery still be able to reach and engage new audiences, or will it be now regulated to just a quick stop through for those visiting Liberty Station? Personally, I think IDW doesn’t really know what to do with the gallery space, seeing this option of conversion as easier than explaining to the media why it closed. Even the gallery’s own website doesn’t know how to describe itself, at the time of this article’s writing it being completely blank of text on the home page, save for a few words of legal and otherwise at the bottom. To me, it is the “otherwise” here at the bottom of the page that speaks volumes on how to describe IDW’s gallery change decision. This is of their own words and again on their website at the time of this writing. I quote: “The San Diego Comic Art Gallery is – blah blah blah.” Blah indeed.