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SEMVA finds new home in Rochester

SEMVA finds new home in Rochester

Nearly two years after closing its prime Peace Plaza storefront, the arts cooperative SEMVA is back with a new space downtown.

The new SEMVA Art Gallery is located at 320 South Broadway, in between Mango Thai restaurant and Fagan Studios. The group will hold a reopening celebration at the space on Friday, Oct. 6.

We stopped by the gallery Thursday as artists were beginning to hang up their work. Members of the volunteer organization told us they have been in there for the past three weeks doing everything to get the gallery ready for its public opening.

"You name it, we've done it," said member artist Bobbie Gallas.

SEMVA, which stands for Southeastern Minnesota Visual Artists, has been without a storefront since moving out of its Peace Plaza location at the end of 2015 due to rising rent costs. (Some artwork continued to be displayed in the lobby of the DoubleTree Hotel.)

While the Broadway space is a bit smaller in square footage, it offers a more modern feel and increased wall space, said Larry Ricker, the organization's board chair.

The one downside, he said, is that there is less foot traffic than the previous spot, which SEMVA had for more than 20 years. That means the group will have to depend more on local support.

"We can't rely on [Mayo Clinic] visitors to keep us going as much as we did before," said Ricker, noting he is still hopeful longtime visitors will still be willing to make the walk over.

SEMVA has 64 member artists from throughout the region.

Cover photo by Med City Beat

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