After 45 years, downtown gallery Artique will close its doors
Owning an art gallery was a beautiful way for Tennys Owens to make a living.
“I call it soul food. It just makes you feel good. It brings you up, perks you up, enlightens your life,” she said.
That’s why she dedicated 45 years of her life to supporting artists around the state.
Owens started selling art out of her basement to corporations flooding to Alaska during the oil boom. She opened Artique in downtown Anchorage in 1971.
“We were in a frontier state and it was wonderful,” she said. “It was a magnificent experience and learning possibilities and we enjoyed every second of it.”
Her artists and her employees became her family. The small, 900-square-foot shop on G Street was their home that transformed into a premiere art gallery over the years.
But as the saying goes: All good things must come to an end.
“I decided as you go forth, you never know what the future is going to bring economically in the state. There’s always a time but you have to see it and be willing to grasp it,” Owens said.
At the gallery’s final First Friday event, people packed the house. Mayor Ethan Berkowitz surprised Owens with a proclamation dedicating Nov. 4 as Artique Day.
Because Artique has been such an integral part of the art community customers are sad to see it go.
“It means a lot to a lot of people,” said Bobbi Bianchi, an artist and employee at the gallery. “Ever since it’s been announced they’v been coming here since they first got married, now they’ve been married for 40 years. It means a lot to people.”
Owens said she’s not sure what’s next for her. Right now, she’s going to enjoy the last month of business, bringing beauty into people’s homes and helping artists make their living in Alaska.
Artique’s last day is Dec. 15, but staffers hope to have all the art sold by the end of November.
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