This Saturday, join environmental art gallery Collectively GRASP for its closing reception. After more than a year of exhibiting eco-art, gallery Owner/Director Aileen Meehan will be closing the art space to recover from the demands of running the gallery while working full-time. Like many businesses, GRASP has been affected by the economic downturn, however, Meehan is choosing to end GRASP’s life with a celebration rather than a funeral. The closing reception will be TONIGHT (August 15th) from 6-9pm at the gallery: 850 Greenwich St, off Columbus, SF, 94133.

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Over the course of its year of exhibitions, GRASP displayed the works of Jazz-minh Moore, Maria Bonn and Chris Ritson, among others, at its North Beach location. The exhibitions were gathered around singular, powerful themes and displayed a wide variety of works and styles. All works addressed, represented or confronted ecological themes. Some of that confrontation was thematic: some of it was embodied in the construction of the work itself.

Though GRASP was a for-profit endeavor, Meehan says, “I did not open the gallery to have an immediately successful business with the expectations of ‘income pouring in.’  I pragmatically did not believe I would be making a livelihood out off of GRASP…and then, of course…the economy melted down in October…we are all still feeling the effects of it.” Meehan had a series of four interns assist her over the course of GRASP’s life, but the demands of gallery and work life have proven to be unsustainable. She feels that GRASP’s greatest achievement has been “creating a neighborhood locale and social meeting place,” and will herself continue to live in North Beach.

Of the ultimate impact of the gallery on the landscape of San Francisco, Meehan says, “I had my own, very unique experience. But honestly, I can’t say I am able to gauge one way or the other how GRASP’s visitors responded to the idea of environmental art.  They all seemed to enjoy the work, but primarily, I think they viewed the work as art work first and foremost, not environmental art– which I think is a good thing to begin with.”

+ collectively GRASP