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Agnes was an art gallery specializing in photography and book arts that was open in Birmingham from May 8, 1993 to January 17, 2001. The gallery promoted social causes as well as artistic talent, often mounting controversial exhibitions dealing with AIDS, racism, imprisonment, and other social justice issues through photography, film and video, poetry and book arts.

The gallery was opened by artist Jon Coffelt, along with partners Shawn Boley and Jan Hughes, in 1992 at 2030-A 11th Avenue South. In 1994, the gallery began publishing Birmingham Art Monthly, which later became Alabama Art Monthly before ceasing publication in 1996.

Louis Hill's Studio 2030 gallery was already established in Five Points South when Agnes Gallery moved into the space next door. These two galleries in Five Points South became a very vibrant art place for Birmingham in the next coming years but when Hill decided to close Studio 2030, The gallery decided to move to 2829 2nd Avenue South, at Dr Pepper Place in Lakeview with rich promises of more traffic and marketing help from the property owners at Pepper Place.

On December 02, 1994, Agnes and Studio 2030 were part of a censorship issue with artist, Robert Sherer due to Glenda Hollis, former founder of A Baby's Place demanding that Sherer's nude male paintings be covered or taken down in conjunction with Agnes Calling All Angel's annual benefit of which Studio 2030 was a part. The interesting part of this situation derived from the fact that Agnes, at the same time had an exhibition of female nudes with no recourse. Hollis lied to Louis Hill and covered up Sherer's work at Studio 2030 but due to extenuating circumstances was found to have embezzled funds from her organization. A Baby's Place which eventually ended with Hollis losing her license to operate the AIDS facility. Alan Heldman, acting on behalf of the galleries wrote a public statement critical of Hollis' actions that was released to the press. This incident was actually covered by Associated Press in an article that appeared in USA today on December 5, 1994.

After two years with no marketing help or traffic or restaurants to help pull in clients in 1998, Agnes moved again, to the Hugh Martin Cottage at 1919 15th Avenue South where it remained until Coffelt closed the gallery in 2001, after eight years and over 77 exhibitions.


  • Melissa Springer's Julia Tutwiler Prison Series was Agnes' first exhibit.
  • Thomas Tulis was the second exhibition with "Constructions of Suburbia." A series for home construction photographs showing us what we give up in society and what we get in return from that sacrifice.
  • Volker Seding (d. in 2007) exhibited his "Zoo Series" at Agnes covering over 40 years of zoo photography starting with the box-car like cold exhibits of the 1960's to the environmentally friendly exhibition spaces in the current era. This historic exhibition was educational in many ways but mostly in how we, as a society, think about animals in zoos and how we are more humane today, especially in contrast to former times.
  • From its beginning, Agnes worked with Visual AIDS and "The Electric Blanket" [1] and hosted its first "World's AIDS Day" in 1992 with "A Day without Art". [2]
  • The gallery assisted Ellen Fleurov (nee Dugan) with her Olympic exhibition at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta called Picturing the South. (The exhibition is described in Allison Eckardt Ledes' "The South in photographs: Artistic pictures taken from Savannah, GA" for Magazine Antiques (July 1996). See also Ellen Dugan, ed., Picturing the South (San Francisco: Chronicle), Acknowledgements, p. 10.) This exhibition was also made into a book by Susan Sipple Elliott, The South by Its Photographers.
  • UPsouth traveled to several venues across Birmingham, including Space One Eleven, Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Visual Arts Gallery, and Agnes itself. [3] It showed the work of artists Emma Amos and Willie Cole and writer bell hooks, as well as Ann Benton, Priscilla Hancock Cooper, Karen Graffeo, Lee Isaacs, Mary Ann Sampson, J. M. Walker and Marie Weaver. [4]
  • Alexandre Glyadelov's [5] Homeless in Bosnia with Médecins sans Frontières was the gallery's last exhibit.


Agnes artists list included: Sara Garden Armstrong, Pinky Bass, Sadie Benning, Ruth Bernhard, Mare Blocker, Cal Breed, Elisa Bryan, Kevin Bubriski, Dan Budnik, Denise Carbone, Jim Cohen, Liesa Cole, Clayton Colvin, Paul Caponigro, Danah Coester, Randal Crow, Craig Cutler, Craig Daniels, Mark Dauber, Jurgen Dopatka, Al Edwards, Roberta Eichenberg, Timothy Ely, Paulo Ferrario, Adrienne Ford, Mitchell Gaudet, Nina Glaser, Alexandre Glyadelov, Alice Goodwin, Karen Graffeo, William K. Greiner, Kelly Grider,Jerry Griffies, Robert John Guttke, J. D. Hayward, Susan Hensel, James Herbert, Jenny Holzer, Davi Det Hompson, Christina Hope, Shig Ikeda, Lee Isaacs, Sally Johnson, Adrian Jones, Steven Katzman, Susan E. King, Janice Kluge, Jim Koss, Cam Langley, Lori Lavoy, Ruth Laxson, O. Winston Link, Miranda Maher, Patrick Martin, Spider Martin, Matuschka, Ian McFarland, Bart Michiels, Dana Moore, Julie Moos, R. J. Muna, Hermann Nitsch, Ray Lewis Payne, Liz Phelps, Jim Pitts, Vicki Ragan, Patricia Richardson, Tut Altman Riddick, Stewart Riddle, Iris Rinke-Hammer, Anita Ronderos, Jessica Rosner, Ed Ruscha, Lori Salcedo, John Patrick Salsbury, Mary Ann Sampson,David Sandlin, Elise Mitchell Sanford, Claire Jeanine Satin, Stephen Savage, Virginia Scruggs, Joel Seah, Volker Seding, Vincent Serbin, Robert A. Shaefer Jr, Susan Share, Carolyn Sherer, Jack Spencer, Maggie Taylor, Jason Thrasher, Arthur Tress, Thomas Tulis, Jerry Uelsmann, James Vella, Adriene Veninger, Joe Veras, Linda Voychehovski, J. M. Walker, John Wawrzonek, Marie Weaver, Nancy Webber, Randy West, and Timothy Wolcott.

Point of interest

Clayton Colvin was the first of many interns over the years. Other interns include Jennifer Chin, Shannon Morris, Paul Barrett, Laura Beth Isabella, Joel Seah and Mary Katherine Matalon.


  • "Agnes (gallery)." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 19 Nov 2006, 16:51 UTC. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 20 Nov 2006 [6].

External links