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Gallery raising the flare levels on Callow

Now that Callow Avenue business owners and the Bremerton Police Department have eradicated the heavy crime and prostitution that once plagued Callow Avenue, a new art gallery president has hatched a plan to unite the entire neighborhood.

Metropolis Gallery members packed up their art at their popular Fourth Street location in the heart of downtown’s art district, and shipped over to town on 308 Callow Ave. last week.

They plan to open in their new location today and start their own monthly art walk soon after.

Metropolis president Patrick Cooper has contacted businesses on Callow about starting the art walk, probably on the last Saturday of every month. Residents can stroll through town, see art in businesses, hear music at a cafe and possibly see a movie at the Charleston Cinemas during the walk.

“I think it is going to be absolute dynamite,” said Rush’s coffee shop owner Dana Rush.

She opened her business in an extremely spacious, 3,400 square foot space six months ago. Every weekend, Rush’s hosts all-ages rock, punk and jazz shows.

“It’s the belief that the neighborhood is on the way up,” she said about the art walk.

A unique aspect of the last Saturday Art Walk could be Rush’s open Jazz Jam, where amateur musicians can bring in an instrument and play music with the with pros.

Six years ago, Tony White founded Metropolis in downtown Bremerton next to city hall.

He earned a reputation as a rabid supporter of the arts, and helped push to get more art in local businesses.

After he died a year ago from AIDS, Metropolis members vowed to keep the gallery open and White’s spirit of art-acceptance alive.

“They bring in a contemporary attitude,” said Amy Burnett, who owns a gallery on Pacific Avenue and is one of the cornerstones of downtown art community.

Cooper said Metropolis moved because they could not afford the cost of rent in their downtown location any more.

Although Burnett said the gallery will be missed, she doesn’t consider them gone.

“They just went to a different part of town,” she said.

Metropolis is a co-op gallery, where members pay dues each month that cover the rent and utilities. Each member contributes a couple volunteer hours throughout the month, from spackling and painting to vacuuming the floor.

Metropolis plans to be open for the downtown’s First Friday activities as well each month, Cooper said.

“I think people will come down here,” he said. “I think there’s some pretty good businesses downtown.

Candy Singleton, an energetic woman who opened Jumpin’ Java Beans on Callow Aug. 1, fully supports the art walk idea.

“It would bring business around here,” she said.

Singleton sells sandwiches and coffee, and is earning a reputation as a great root beer float manufacturer. She has already hung a couple pieces done in chalk on her walls.

Metropolis will be open for a grand opening show during the first Friday art walk March 5.

Steve Suski will be the featured artist.

To find out more information about Metropolis’s plans or to become a volunteer, call the gallery at (360) 373-4709.

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