Xanadu Gallery is Getting a New Interior

After ten years in our current location (and almost fifteen years in business) I’ve decided it’s time for a significant refresh of the gallery’s interior. I’ve loved our gallery space and we’ve sold a lot of art out of it over the last decade, but after ten years we were ready for a refresh, and we have come to know the strengths and flaws of our space very, very well.

Our slow summer season is the perfect time for this kind of work – our traffic is understandably slow as the temperatures climb into the low 110°s, and construction crews are only too happy to be working inside instead of out.

Yesterday, we removed all of the art from the gallery, and early this morning a drywall crew showed up to begin work.

During this remodel, we’ll be working on four key areas.

Our existing portable walls
Our existing moveable walls

First, I’m eliminated the rolling, portable wall units we had in the space. The wall units have served us well over the years, but I’ve come to realize that they are no longer ideal. The main problem is that they have a huge footprint for the amount of hanging space they provide. We had 6 of these units, each 3′ x 4′, by about 7′ tall. The 72 square feet they took up isn’t a huge percentage of our 2200 square feet of floor space, but volume of these units has a significant impact.

The ability of the units to be moved for different shows was nice, but eventually we found what I would consider to be the “ideal spots” for these walls, and they ended up pretty much staying in those spaces most of the time. So, I’m removing them and building more permanent walls in the spaces where our moveable walls had settled. The new walls will provide almost twice the hanging space the moveable walls gave.  The new walls will also give me significantly more contiguous spaces for grouping artist’s work.

Our current cable lighting system

The second major change is a completely new lighting system. When we opened ten years ago, we installed a low-voltage, cable lighting system using Halogen MR-16 bulbs. Again, the system has worked well, but I’ve long wished it provided just a bit more light.

My lighting salesman has also convinced me that LED lights are to a point that they are not only as good as, but better in every way than halogens. I resisted LEDs for some time because, when I first tested them, the light they cast was too harsh and too cold. LED bulbs are much more expensive, but their life expectancy is much better, and they use a lot less energy. (I would love to hear feedback from anyone using LEDs in the comments)

We are also making major repairs and re-coating our stained concrete floor. I am a huge fan of the stained concrete. I love the look, and I love that we can move sculpture and heavy artwork around without worrying about destroying the floor. We’re keeping the finish and the stain, we’re just cleaning it up and putting a new clear coat on.

I’ll keep you posted with updates and images – stay tuned!

About the Author: Jason Horejs

Jason Horejs is the Owner of Xanadu Gallery, author of best selling books "Starving" to Successful & How to Sell Art , publisher of reddotblog.com, and founder of the Art Business Academy. Jason has helped thousands of artists prepare themselves to more effectively market their work, build relationships with galleries and collectors, and turn their artistic passion into a viable business.


  1. Congratulatioins. We’ve switched over to LEDs and like them for the most part. Make sure the ones you use are able to be modulated without strobing.

  2. The facelift is going to look awesome. I switched to LED lighting in my studio work space and love it. You can buy it with daylight kelvin rating or a neutral white light that makes color look good. I think you will really like it.

  3. I belong to an artists’ owned gallery in Washington DC. We changed out our halogen bulbs for LED lighting earlier this year and the results are wonderful. Everything is so well lit making the art really pop off the walls now. I was inspired enough to change out the two ceiling lights in my studio for LEDs and feel I can painting later into the day now than I could before. I’ve also found I can now take better photographs of my artwork without have to set up special spot lights to do so.

  4. Good luck with the project, Jason! Huge undertaking. Obviously a lot of thought and planning went into it and I’m sure the end result will reflect that. Now I’ll need to plan another trip to Phoenix (after it cools down a bit!) — to experience the improvements firsthand and congratulate you in person.

  5. Hi Jason,
    LED bulbs are available in cool and warm temperature. We have both at our gallery and use them in combination or whichever temperature goes best with the piece of art.

  6. Jason-congratulations and much luck during your update! I bought an existing gallery over a year ago and discovered that we were spending around 1500 in halogen bulbs per year. We went with LED bulbs that have a five year life in most of the gallery and have been pleased with the result. Many clients believed that we had replaced the entire lighting system because the space was so much brighter. Love your books and your blog.

  7. We switched to LED last year and love them I’m in a coop gallery, the heat is less, the power bill down about 1/2 and we got more light becasue the lower voltaage meant we could put more fixtures up on the tracks, they also last a lot longer, we have a 5 year guarentee on the lights . We were replacing them every few months before.

  8. We have been gradually changing over to LED lights now that the colour they project is not as harsh and cold and somewhat blue as they were in the past. They are brighter than our halogen bulbs (which were discontinued anyway) but fortunately we have very high ceilings so the lights are not close to the art work and the strength is diminished. They are easier to work with as they don’t heat up like the halogens and we hope the longevity is as advertised as they are certainly expensive. Generally we are pleased with them. Good luck with the renovations. We’ve been though that and a move. A lot of work but worth it in the end.

  9. Congratulations on such a bold decision! And thank you for such great info about the lighting. I am in the process of choosing lighting for a new studio area and appreciate the feedback about LED lights. The number of choices and different results have made the options unclear. I am excited to see the new space in person!

  10. Lightbulbs. I can talk lightbulbs. I redid the lighting in my studio with this awesome flexible, curved, and directional track lighting. I am a stickler for lighting that has to be perfect so as not to adversely effect paint color. I purchased and returned a lot of bulbs, did a lot of internet research, and took some field trips to lighting specialty stores. I could have saved myself a lot of trouble if I had listened to one salesman who told me that the “color rendering index” (CRI) in a light bulb makes all the difference in the world for galleries, museums, and studios. You pay more for a high CRI, and I didn’t want to hear that. The higher the CRI, the truer your colors will come out. The LED bulbs I ended up with have a CRI of 95%. I also got dimmable bulbs so I can adjust the intensity of the lighting. I love it.
    The other thing I learned is that the Kelvin of a bulb is not the same across manufacturers. It’s like buying jeans. A size 10 in a Levi’s is not the same as a size 10 in a Calvin Klein. So, when I was still in the phase of not believing the salesman about the CRI, I tried a lot of bulbs in different Kelvins. I could put (2) 5000 Kelvin bulbs from different manufacturers next to each other and see a marked difference. Neither was right. This got frustrating. I tried bulbs from 2000 – 5000 Kelvin.
    I found the right bulb and spent $414.00 on bulbs for my studio ($26.94/bulb). I got a few extra just because. I know it’s a lot, but my lighting is right, and I haven’t regretted it a bit. It’s like daylight at night and very neutral, not too warm, not too cool. I bought the bulbs from http://www.1000bulbs.com. The specs on my bulbs are below. The style and base of the bulb might need to be different depending on the outlet you choose:

    LED-01579 Soraa 01579 – 7.5 Watt – LED – MR16 – GU10 Base
    – 50 Watt Equal – 490 Candlepower – CRI 95 – 4000 Kelvin –
    95% Color Rendering – 60 Deg. Wide Flood

    Oh, and I chose a “60 degree wide flood” so I get more even light filtering through the studio instead of a narrow spot light.

    It was really hard to find all of the factors needed, but the effort was well worth it. Most of the manufacturers let you purchase a few to try and return them if they weren’t right. The overseas mfgs. didn’t allow that (shipping is expensive).

    To sum up, choose a high CRI, wide flood, and experiment with a few types of Kelvins from the mfg. 4000 to 5000 Kelvin usually resembles the most neutral light. Good luck and great lighting.


    1. We redid our gallery in Portland with a similar bulb..the $3000 cost was hard to take but the results are wonderful and our electricity bill has dropped like a rock

    2. Tina, thank you for putting in the part about CRI. I was not familiar with it until I saw your post. That lets me know to check my own bulbs for that. Thanks again.

    3. Tina, thanks so much for sharing this invaluable information. Not having to reinvent the wheel will save me hours and hours of experimentation and frustration (not to mention huge piles of money)!

    4. I absolutely agree with this, Tina.i’m replacing all my balls as they burn out, and was so impressed with the LEDs I thought that I replaced my studio lights all at once and am letting my old lights burnout in other lamps. Great writeup on requirements. I found a lot of the bulbs that I wanted at The Battery & Bulb Store.

  11. What a great way to invigorate your space, your artists, your customers, and you! It just feels good all the way around. Congrats on the wonderful ideas you have for a beautiful new look and enhanced usability of the space.

  12. That had to feel so strange to walk back in today and see it all down to the bare essentials. It sounds great! Sounds like you really planned it out. Remember…deconstructing and constructing are both art. grin.

  13. Good luck!!!
    I always think a refresh is a good thing at some point for just about every business. Good that you can use the lessons learned from your previous years and make improvements!!

  14. How exciting for you! I think it helps emotionally to change things around and refresh the space. It lets you come up with new ideas and gives you renewed energy to accomplish new goals. Enjoy!

  15. I love led but the common ones are not always full spectrum -which is best for colors. Although you want something around 3700 color temp for best gallery viewing – so I have heard.
    What is the color temp of your leds?
    Good luck on the remodel

  16. It’s going to be gorgeous! Looks pretty good now, though. With more wall space, maybe you can feature a few more artists now, too. 😉

    The LED lights could be really good for your space. I have a 2000 ft studio, with 15′ ceilings and we switched over to LED. I did NOT want to do it, and at first I hated the light. But, you are able to tweak the lighting to get different color balances, intensities, etc., to the point now that it is very close to halogen lighting. Just take a deep breath and accept that it’s the way of the future.

    Have fun with the remodel. I hope to come see the gallery in person one day. Good luck!

  17. I think the studio will be very beautiful and functional when done. I use LED’s in my studio to paint because it gives a cooler, more natural light. The bulbs also don’t get nearly as hot as the halogen lights. I think you will like them.

  18. Change is good! Congratulations on the remodel. Just wondering… if city regulations allow and your rolling walls are managable enough to roll out front of Xanadu maybe they’d work great for the weekly Art Walk events when they start back up????

  19. Congratulations! Can’t wait to see the new space … just curious, are you leaving your “fifth wall,” the ceiling, exposed? If so, same color as the photos? Walls in color or white?

  20. Our gallery switched to LED’s about two years ago…. Lovely not having to change out bulbs every month! Haven’t had to change a bulb in two years:) Best part was the Electric Company offered rebates when installing in large amounts so our cost per LED Flood was only a little over $11.00 each! Make sure you check to see if rebates are available in your area for switching to energy saving devices. What should have cost us close to $2500, ended up costing only about $750 after rebates.

  21. In building our Texas home and my studio in 2014, we had particular walls “blocked” between the studs at viewing height so that there is extra support for hanging art. We also have put in LED lighting where we leave display lights running more often, and it has given us great exhibition areas while staying much cooler from the LED bulbs. It would have a positive influence on your electricity use and the room temperature in summer.

  22. Wonderful! Do you think the new arrangement will affect those certain spots that always seem to produce sales? Hoping the new wall space results in even more sales!

  23. Jason — We’re trying to go with LEDs in our home, but find they will not work easily with dimmers. We’ve changed switches but not getting good results. When we remodeled our home, we did it with lots of low lighting attached to dimmer so we could create varying atmospheres in different rooms at different times. Now we’re waiting for the bulbs to improve to the point where t hey accommodate our mood lighting. Will be interested in following your experiences.

  24. Wow, Jason! That’s terrific, like redoing home away from home! LOVE the stained floors! Maybe some day I’ll actually get to visit! Thanks for sharing this exciting time for and your family.

  25. Great news about refreshing your gallery, change is good! Walking into your space everyday will give you a sence of newness and give you that spark of inspration! Looking forward to our next trip to Scottsdale and will be excited to see the changes.

  26. Hi Jason, thanks so much for sharing this info. I’m curious, what are the ceiling heights in your gallery? Did you make changes to your storage area as well? I can’t wait to see the final photos. Maybe put a ‘before and after’ together for us! Cheers from warm Sarasota, FL.

  27. Our Co-op, very low on space (and how many gallerys are not), has portable wall units
    that also provide storage for folding chairs. For a small gallery, they seem like an almost
    perfect solution. The mounting system on them is also a favorite for our artists, since it
    does not need wall repair when refreshing the art.

  28. Congratulations, Jason!
    We all look forward to photos of the Gallery after renovations are completed…

    Thanks, TINA, for sharing your research about LED lights. It will save time and money for the rest of us.

  29. Hi Jason,
    Exciting move in every way. Best of luck, and may the process be as smooth as possible. Look forward to seeing updates and the finished product!

  30. The space looks amazing! I hope the process is as painless as possible. I know some people hate construction but I love re-purposing space in a more useful and appealing way!

  31. Congratulations! I know the changes will be awesome and prosperous. Thanks for all the info from everyone on the LED lights. I work on my art in the evenings and the light is always a problem. I heard LED lights were better but wasn’t sure the price would be worth it. I will defiantly get some this weekend!

  32. Jason, I do not alway leave a reply after reading your blog , but I have something each I read one. In fact some of them I have kept. Congratulations on your remolding It is looking nice. I agree with you on the paint/stained concrete being durable and more easily kept clean.

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