While renovations were underway, a giant chandelier was the most distinguishing feature at Canary Gallery downtown. It’s still one of our favorites, but there’s no shortage of things to see now: crisp white walls display work ranging from bold pop art to soft country landscapes. Like its Loft District neighbors, the gallery puts an existing building to stylish mixed use.
What we especially like about this space is its visibility. Even when the gallery is closed, its corner spot with generous windows and ambient lighting means there’s something to see any time of day. It’s a boon for the neighborhood streetscape and part of a block undergoing rapid transformation. After all, Artefact Supply opened this fall, and our friends at Nequette Architecture and Design have their own plans nearby.
Perhaps the gallery’s most intriguing feature is its business model. The gallery describes itself as “a neighborhood art gallery, event space, and gathering spot.” It’s a working gallery with art for sale, in other words, but it’s also a flexible multipurpose space befitting its downtown district. Downtown Birmingham is already a booming artistic space, but Canary adds something extra to the mix.
It’s hard not to daydream about hosting an event there. The floor plan’s easy flow and lofted nook invite mingling and lingering. Which is what owner Libby Pantazis had in mind, according to a profile in Iron City Ink.
And the tone of Canary Gallery is more reminiscent of Art Crawl than high society. It’s designed “to be a friendly, welcoming place, not a holy temple of art,” according to the Iron City Ink piece, which noted that gallery hours cater to the surrounding bar and restaurant scene. In fact, the gallery’s blog suggests restaurant patrons could spend their wait time over a glass of wine–available for purchase–and art.