Image: Richard McKey

Fondren Art Gallery has moved out of their corner spot at State Street and Duling Avenue.

But they’ve only gone two-tenths of a mile north to artist and owner Richard McKey’s studio (yes, the one with the giant Obama head out front).

“I found myself running up and down the street [the last seven years],” McKey says of his reasoning behind the move. “We had part of our framing shop here and part of it there. We had art here and there. It got too crazy for me. I said, ‘I own this building; if I can put everything here and put all my people here, it’ll make life easier.’”

In the construction business for 25 years prior to his art career, McKey built the building at 3242 North State Street 13 years ago. His teaching space, gallery and “music studio,” something he hopes to make a bigger part of his business, occupy the upstairs street-front space. The framing shop takes the entire bottom floor.

Another plus for McKey’s customers is his large parking lot, accessible from Patton Avenue, directly behind his studio. “I’ve got more private parking than any other business. So it made good sense to me.”

McKey is also diving more deeply into another facet of his business: online sales. “I think after a while, I’ve kind of tapped the market, especially for my work,” he explains. “A lot of people have a piece of mine and not everybody wants more than one of an artist. I started doing some web store sales and putting my work with other companies on the web and it’s doing very well.”

Recent hire Holly Wigman, a photographer, was brought in to help McKey manage his online presence. Roxanne Routt remains managing the framing business.

“I’m excited,” he says of the change. “It’s always been a great building and it just feels like home. I enjoyed the experience down there and learned a lot about the gallery business, but this going to be a good change for me. I’m hopeful.”