Trading Spaces

East Austin art gallery's massive move will make way for internet startup

Austin gallery's massive move makes way for internet startup

Mass Gallery Regional Fictions
MASS Gallery is leaving its current space to make way for an internet startup.  Mass Gallery/Facebook

After nearly five years as the anchor tenant of the 501 Calles St. development, MASS Gallery, an East Austin art and event space, is on the move. In a Facebook post dated July 4, the gallery operators said they will "be losing our space to make room for an internet startup." 

Despite the narrative, one that's becoming increasingly common — and exhausting — in Austin, MASS fans shouldn't despair. The gallery has found a new, more flexible space a few blocks away at 705 Gunther St., just off East Seventh Street near Hard Luck Lounge. According to MASS, the gallery has signed a five-year lease for the new spot.

"We are really excited about the new location," MASS Gallery president Erin Gentry tells CultureMap. "While it is a smaller space than our current location, there are several aspects about it that are super exciting to our collective. It is a stand alone building on a very large lot, which will give us more independence and lots of space to curate and create new kinds of projects and community events, including outdoor programming, movie nights, etc."

In order to cover moving and construction of the new space, MASS Gallery has launched a Kickstarter to help raise $15,000 of the estimated $30,000 in costs to "repurpos[e] the raw space into a gallery and performance venue that will support the quality of work that we plan to present there for many years to come." MASS will also host a closing party and art auction at its Calles outpost on July 21 to raise additional funds.

"Our current plan is to reopen in October with an exhibition featuring several artists working in textile, including an outdoor textile installation," says Gentry. Currently, MASS Gallery is hosting "Regional Fictions," a show examining how falsifications and omissions — especially when taught to elementary school children — reshapes history. It runs through July 7.

Since its inception in 2006, MASS Gallery has become a vital part of Austin's art scene, curating shows from local and national artists and participating in city-wide events like the East Austin Studio Tour and Fusebox. It's the latest in a series of Austin art venues to be displaced, including Flatbed Press, which will close next year, and Pump Project, which shuttered in late June.