Portrait Society Gallery reopens
Director Debra Brehmer on the renovations and origins of the Third Ward space. Video by Val Danculovich and Breanne Brennan.
When Debra Brehmer opened her Portrait Society Gallery at the Marshall Building in 2008, she started with a tiny space on the fifth floor. When the tenant next door left, she drifted into another room across the hall. As the gallery grew, she kept on drifting.
Before she knew it, Brehmer had three distinct gallery spaces and two storerooms. She says it was “awkward but interesting … a homespun conception of a gallery, but it worked.” Over the years, she grew comfortable in the flexible, redefineable space. So when the owners of the Marshall Building offered her a new, renovated space this year, she found herself wanting to stay put but reshape her gallery.
After a summer of construction, Brehmer and her Portrait Society Gallery have transformed their once-modular environment into a larger, subdivided gallery space. She can still show three exhibitions at once, as she could with the original, found floorplan. TCD visited the gallery to capture the construction process as Brehmer and her staff prepared for the first series of shows in the re-imagined space and to interview Brehmer about the origins of the gallery and her plans for the future.