Andrew Lyles puts a lid on Spray Booth Gallery
Last March, Spray Booth Gallery, the artist-run space tucked inside Volker Bicycles’ Crossroads shop, filled its walls with works by 100 local artists. With group exhibitions like that one (the XOXO Salon Show) and New World Border, as well as thoughtful solo runs such as Daniel Reneau’s To Be An, gallerist and curator Andrew Lyles was making Spray Booth financially self-sufficient and aesthetically fascinating. A month after XOXO, Spray Booth’s modest Kickstarter campaign exceeded its goal, helping fund additional shows and draw out-of-town talent. “We wanted there to be a place for when people came into town who needed one,” says Lyles, a 2010 Kansas City Art Institute painting graduate.
This March, though, things are different. With Volker on the verge of consolidating its two bike shops at the 130 West 18th Street location, there won’t be room for Spray Booth anymore. One or two more exhibitions might open before the store’s lease agreements change.
Lyles admits that he’s ready to put more time into his own drawing and writing. (His ideas are already finding their way into things that other artists are organizing, including Sean Starowitz’s Byproduct: Laundromat project.) But the Brooklyn native (who was raised in Chicago) says he’s not going anywhere yet.
“I remember reading something [KC photographer] Ahram Park wrote, that if you really want a community, you have to build one,” Lyles says. And he agrees: “If you really want something here, you can find supporters who are willing to take the time and make it happen.” Lyles competes in cycling events around the country (he recently moved up to CAT 2 status in road and cyclocross), and he doesn’t rule out opening another gallery someplace else. But he figures that he would end up coming back here. “I just think Kansas City’s my home.”