When you walk into the new downtown location for Fischer Galleries at the old Dickie's building (736 S. President St.), you almost get a sense that you're walking into a scene taken from one of Woody Allen's films set in New York City. Wooden floors? Check. Exposed ceiling? Check. Surrounding windows with a full view of the downtown skyline? Ditto.
No one is probably more enthusiastic about the space than owner Marcy Fischer Nessel, 50. "We're real excited about the space, and we're real excited to be in downtown Jackson," Nessel says. "We feel it's super-urban. You get to look out and see this view of Jackson. There's something very warm about the space, in general. The most exciting thing for us is that we're in this city that we are seeing in a new light with these amazing views. There's a lot happening in downtown Jackson, and we're happy to be a part of it."
The building was built in 1928. For a long time, it housed the Dickie's Garment Factory until it closed in the '90s. Since then, architect Robert Polk transformed the location into a mixed-use facility with loft apartments. The Fischer Gallery is the building's newest tenant on the fourth floor.
Nessel has mixed feelings about leaving the gallery's old Fondren location.
"Fondren is great, but we're probably a little more private here," she says. "We really wanted a space that was conducive for people to come in and view the work, enjoy the opening, and just do what we do."
Fischer Gallery's gallery director, Ellen Johnson, 28, is also excited about the new location. "Work is going to look so amazing in here," Johnson says. "It's really an experience. I didn't realize something like this existed in Jackson. It's a nice change. It begs to have art."
The gallery's first show was for local artist Richard Kelso in early December. "I'm the guinea pig," Kelso says with a laugh. Kelso's work was appropriate for the first show as it features a distinct Mississippi flavor. His paintings depict scenes that many of us see most every day in the rural areas of our state. His landscape paintings have a tranquil consistency about them, but also show off his incredible eye for detail.
Diversity seems to be key in the artists Fischer Gallery represents. Completely switching gears, the second show featured Covington, La., artist Ken Tate. Tate has a fondness for the natural look and texture of paint itself. His abstract work is very bright and vibrant.
Delta artist Cathy Hegman possesses an elegant quality to her work. Her paintings of figures are full of imagination as they express the romantic notion of an artist that follows the whim of her brush. Her pieces maintain a particular focus with their subjects.
In addition to paintings, the Fischer Gallery also features the work of Oxford sculptor Rod Moorhead. Most Jacksonians are familiar with Moorhead's work as he was the artist behind "The Storytellers" sculpture of Eudora Welty, Richard Wright and William Faulker in downtown Jackson in front of the Pinnacle building on Capitol Street.
It took Nessel several months to find Fischer's new home. "We came in here and were just blown away by the space and possibilities it presented. We knew this is where we needed to be," she says.
With all the artists associated with Fischer Gallery, Nessel has plenty to keep her busy, but she is also looking forward to the possibilities the new location presents. "With the amount of open floor space we have here, we're hoping to be able to do more installations," Nessel says.
The Fischer Gallery is open in its new location at 736 S. President St. in Jackson. Watch for a grand reopening reception in January. Details are at fischergalleries.com or call 601-291-9115 for more information.