May 20 2014 05:14 PM

Arts entrepreneur cuts back and focuses on his flagship gallery

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Alexander Salazar
Photo by Kinsee Morlan

In 2011, CityBeat called gallerist and art dealer Alexander Salazar the "Energizer Bunny of the local art scene." He regularly made appearances on these pages and on our Canvassed arts blog with announcements of new gallery spaces, new residency programs and general expansion of his empire.

"I was holding seven leases," says Salazar, who, at one point, operated two gallery storefronts Downtown, a gallery in La Jolla, two residency spaces, storage and office space and exhibition walls in high-end hotels.

However, earlier this year, Salazar cut back his operations, closing almost everything. He's now focusing on his flagship gallery at 1040 Seventh Ave., Downtown (which was called White Box Contemporary but now serves as a "gallery inside a gallery" as Alexander Salazar Fine Art Gallery with White Box continuing as a portioned area inside the space).

"I had expanded quite fast," Salazar says. "This area was sort of slated by the city to get a lot of money for rehabilitation, but, unfortunately, all that went to waste."

Salazar, who says he's now looking to expand to markets outside of the United States, once envisioned Seventh Avenue at C Street as an emerging arts district. While a few artists moved their studios to nearby spaces, his vision never materialized. He partly blames the state's retaking of redevelopment money (the C Street corridor was slated for major redevelopment, but the project has been delayed).

"Everything I thought would support my investment fell through on the city's side," Salazar says.

He's also scaled back the number of exhibitions he's hosting, and his gallery is now open only by appointment. Currently, he's fixing up his main gallery with new lighting and an improved storefront façade, which includes a new mural by local artist JFeather.

"I want to do more with the one bigger space instead of running around all the time," Salazar said.  "The Energizer Bunny no more."


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