Detroit Event Photography Examiner article archive

From July 2010 to July 2016, Alonso Delarte was Detroit Event Photography Examiner for This is an archive of the articles he wrote for that website.

Topic: Start Gallery

Start Gallery was located in the Merchants Building in downtown Detroit. It was founded by Jason Reed in 2011 to give his friends a place to exhibit artwork. Unfortunately, rising rent forced Reed out in 2015.

Back to Examiner article archive home. Back to Start Gallery article index. 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015.

Start Gallery celebrates fourth anniversary

May 2, 2015 9:53 PM MST

Jason Reed with one of his paintings at Start Gallery

Jason Reed poses with one of his paintings at Start Gallery. Photo by Alonso del Arte.

Start Gallery started four years ago, and in the time since has established itself as "an important part of Detroit, especially for up and coming artists," said Robert Adams, an artist who had a solo show there in 2012 and has participated in group shows there. To celebrate, gallery owner and director Jason Reed put together a show titled Bold Moves, featuring his collaborations with Kevin McCoy and Dennis Maitland, a show that opened earlier tonight.

In the gallery's back room, there is artwork from past shows, like Beyond the Machine and Start Wars, by artists like Matt Busch and Jason Dunivant. There is one painting by Candy Draper, an artist who is of special significance to Start Gallery. Not only was Draper the first artist to exhibit at the Start Gallery, "she was the catalyst for me to start this gallery," Reed recalled. For the gallery's first anniversary in 2012, Draper had a solo show.

Start Gallery first opened on May 6, 2011, with a Draper solo show titled Chaos in Color. A closing date for the current show has yet to be announced on the gallery's Facebook page.

COMMENTARY. The 4th Anniversary Show was the beginning of the end. There were four more exhibits at Start Gallery in 2015, but I didn't write about any of them. I couldn't write about the penultimate show because I had gotten way too involved personally with the gallery.

John Marroquin, Jr. had created an opportunity to exhibit at Start Gallery: the Pabst Brewing Company wanted an art exhibit themed around their flagship beer, Pabst Blue Ribbon.

Matt Sievers from Pabst would pay for it and John was going to be the curator of it. John said that I would be in the show. I realized this was probably going to be my one and only chance to exhibit at an art gallery downtown.

After considering a couple other galleries first (there was serious consideration of Corktown Studios), we settled on Start Gallery. Given the strong pop culture leaning of many previous exhibits there, it seemed like the perfect choice for the Pabst exhibit.

But Jason Reed was dragging his feet. I went to talk to him at Start Gallery to try to figure out what the problem was. It ended up with me saying to him: "Ask [Pabst] for the things you require to put on this show. If you want catering at the event, ask for catering." The next week, John told me that Jason had sent Matt Sievers at Pabst a list of demands.

Jason and Matt quickly came to an understanding, the show was scheduled and preparations began. Unfortunately, John, too sweet and trusting, and busy, delegated control.

The person who took over had already decided I would not be in the show. I'm not proud of the way I handled that situation, but I remain convinced I would have been out one way or another: the person who took over calculated every possible scenario and was ready for any action I took.

Of course I went to see the exhibit, and of course it would have been inappropriate for me to write about it. I thought the controlling person had focused the show too much on objectifying women (that person herself being a woman). It had a good percentage of Latino artists, but too low a percentage of women artists.

That Pabst exhibit would not have taken place without my intervention. But I can't be proud of that exhibit, and that's not sour grapes for having been cheated out of my chance to exhibit at a downtown gallery, though it doesn't help.

The last exhibit at Start Gallery consisted of Lucy Owen's photos of Jugalettes (women who are fans of the Insane Clown Posee). Melody Baetens wrote an article about that in the Detroit News.

I don't know when Jason first learned that he would have to leave the Merchant Building, but he talked about moving Start Gallery somewhere else in Detroit, like maybe Midtown. The year 2016 came and went with no announcement of a new location for Start Gallery.

It was at some point in 2016 that Jason got a studio at Corktown Studios. Jason carries on with Klever Design and ZIPR magazine, but Start Gallery now seems to be a thing of the past. That's why I feel it's important that I make available an archive of my articles about the gallery.