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St. Paul's Flow Art Space is closing after over five years

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After running Flow Art Space for over five years, owner Melissa May Metzler is closing its doors in February. She’ll be moving to Salt Lake City, where her husband, who works for 3M, is relocating.

"I'm actually pretty sad to leave it and give it up,” Metzler says. A visual artist herself, she spent time as a business writer and editor before opening a gallery.

Flow’s first exhibition, “The Original Show,” in October 2011, showcased original pieces from artists working in a variety of media. From there, she held 11 to 12 exhibitions a year, a pace that helped spread the word about the space.

Throughout its history, Flow Art Space has featured both local and national artists, another choice that helped the space gain recognition around the country. “There’s a lot of exposure you get from showing artists from all over,” Metzler said. “Word spreads about you in different places and in different ways.”

Some of her favorite exhibitions are recent ones, like Leslie Barlow’s solo show last summer. “That was fantastic,” Metzler says. “I really admire her work.” After featuring Barlow in a number of group showcases, she decided to give her a bigger opportunity. “I was so amazed and impressed with everything she was doing.”

Another favorite was in November of this year, when the gallery featured a husband-and-wife team who collaborated on an exhibition about the husband’s experiences as a Holocaust survivor.

Metzler plans to go out with a bang with a big group show this January, called “Heart and Soul: Portraiture and the Body.”

“It’s a spectacular show with artists from all around the country,” she says. The exhibition will feature artists from 10 states, including six from Minnesota.

In February, Flow will host a show featuring the late artist Harold Zisla, who began as a representational artist and transitioned into abstraction in the last 35 years of his life. The show will double as a fundraiser for Alliance Housing Inc., a Minneapolis-based nonprofit, which will receive a portion of each art sale.