The Allery: The minds of Katy Houseman and Corey Urlacher

by Brent Cole

Tucked away in downtown Bellingham is The Allery, a new and unique art gallery run by the husband and wife team Katy Houseman and Corey Urlacher – two long time Bellingham artists who have a gained respect in the art community for their dynamic and honest approach to their work.

The duo, who have lived in Bellingham since 2006, minus a year living in Missoula, began thinking about the gallery space this summer as they explored different opportunities. “Looking at other spaces in early summer and we decided it might be something we wanted to look into,” Corey stated, “But they weren’t very affordable for what we wanted to do.”

After looking into different opportunities, they by chance stumbled onto a little space with only alley access in the 1300 block of Cornwall, behind Kids Northwest and next to Dragon River. The spot had been vacant for years, having last been a tasting room for The Vines restaurant. They took over the space in mid-September and opened by October’s art walk.

The space is different than other galleries in the area and very much a product of Katy and Corey. Unlike the normal white walls, The Allery’s walls are a darker shade of grey, a subtle difference but one that is noticeable the instant you walk into the room. Instead of holding monthly showings in which a feature artist shows their work, The Allery has an eclectic mix of works from different artists they’ve befriended along the way – ranging from Katy’s Western inspired wildlife paintings to Corey’s dark sculptures to tattoo artist and former Bellingham resident Chris Thompson, and the legendary Steeb. It very much feels like they’re bringing the patron into their world, giving a glimpse into the art they create and enjoy.

“Our house is like this,” stated Corey, “we have a Kathy Toot painting, we have a Michael Dustin painting – this work has been around us.”

The Allery was influenced by different galleries in Montana, Portland and San Francisco as well as places like the Shop Curator in Bow, a gallery that also includes curiosities for sales. Katy and Corey don’t want to limit art to the walls as they’ve incorporated ceramics and will be adding jewelry and beautiful furniture as well. The old timey benches and furniture are adorned with different pieces of pottery.

“Curiosities will be for sale as well,” Katy explained. “It’s not going to push it over the gallery aspect but we’ll have little knick knacks. A kind of mix of the two.”

For Katy and Corey, who are from Montana and met while in college at Bozeman, ceramics hold a special place in their creative adventure. According to Katy, “What blown glass is to Washington, ceramics is to Montana,” and the gallery will represent that connection accordingly. “The Allery reflects our love of ceramics, the process and the aesthetics,” she added.

As with all galleries, the work will change over, but it will do so in an organic way, according to Corey, even if they have had a showing, it doesn’t mean the work will come down anytime soon after. “Just because it’s up for a month, doesn’t mean people came and saw it. We want to give as much opportunity and time for people to enjoy what’s on our walls.”

Taking into all aspects of the gallery, it’s very much a product of Katy and Corey, something they have an immense amount of pride in. “We’ve designed the gallery to be like a gallery we’d be in,” Katy stated with pride.

For more information, check out thealleryfineart.com/ or visit the gallery at 1319 Cornwall Ave, Suite 104 (entrance in the alley).

Published in the December 2016 issue of What’s Up! Magazine