ST. PETERSBURG — After five years and 54 art shows, Chad Mize is closing his St. Petersburg gallery in Historic Uptown. The last day to visit Mize Gallery will be Dec. 23.
“I’m five years in and my lease was five years,” Mize said. “I could continue to do it, and I’m not closing because I’m being kicked out or because I can’t afford the space. It’s more about resetting my life, taking a break just because I’m so busy with my own work as an artist.”
Mize said he’s a “five-year guy,” with that being the run of his previous gallery, Blue Lucy.
“I feel like even when you’re doing well, sometimes you need to kind of break the cycle, like your rituals. ... My vision is to perhaps get bigger in time and go to the next level.”
He says he’ll take a year or two off but will still be curating for other people’s spaces.
The last exhibition at Mize is “Friend,” featuring the relationship-themed work of Mize’s friends. It runs Nov. 4-20. On Dec. 3, he’ll open Stuff & Things & Stuff, his annual holiday showcase of artist-made gift items and ornaments.
Over the years, Mize has worked every aspect of the gallery — coming up with exhibition themes, putting out calls to artists and installing the shows — pretty much on his own. He credits artist Andrea Pawlisz as his right-hand for her help with installations and for manning the gallery when Mize was otherwise tied up.
He’s looking forward to the freedom that will come with not having to be at the gallery every weekend. He’ll be able to focus on commissions for his murals and design work, and he’ll have time to travel and be available for commissions outside of the area.
His merchandise — T-shirts, stickers and paintings — will continue to be sold on his website and at Neat Neat Neat St. Pete, which is next door to the gallery. He will also have more time to refresh the product line.
There are plans for Uptown Eats — located on the other side of the gallery and owned by Mize’s fiance, Dan Schmidt — to expand into the gallery’s space. Mize will probably curate art shows within the restaurant and has an idea to hold sketch nights there.
Having to shut down in the beginning of the pandemic created a new business model for Mize, who continued to hold art shows where he would take photos and videos, going live on social media and putting the artworks up on his website. It proved to be a success, so he continued it even after he was able to return to in-person openings.
He will continue to represent the artist Ales “Bask” Hostomsky, dropping his new paintings monthly online and on social media. Bask, who has murals across the country and whose artwork is featured in the movie “Iron Man 3,” approached Mize earlier this year to represent his work.
“I feel like that’s a new model that I could focus on by not having a brick and mortar, because you don’t need one” Mize said.
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Despite opportunities on the horizon, Mize feels a little bittersweet about closing the gallery.
“It’s been a great source of community. That’s what having the space was about for me, was building a community. Showcasing up-and-coming artists with established artists ... seeing them interact. A lot of my friends that I haven’t seen in a while will show up to the gallery because they know where to find me. And so that’s been an awesome thing.”
He appreciates the community’s support over the years.
“I’ll be back,” he said.
If you go
Mize Gallery. Free. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays, 10 a.m-2 p.m. Sundays. 689 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St. N, St. Petersburg. chadmize.com.