When Yard Dog Gallery opened on South Congress Avenue in 1995, it was among the few indie businesses that were staking out a strip of once-downtrodden vintage retail buildings. Yard Dog occupied half of the 1932 W.B. Loveless building at 1510 S. Congress Ave. originally a general mercantile.
As South Congress became the trendy tourist shopping destination known as ‘SoCo,’ Yard Dog remained a defining fixture recognized for showing American folk art and art by self-taught artists, developing a national and international clientele of collectors.
But now, after 25 years, Yard Dog owner Randy Franklin is looking forward to a move. Beginning Dec. 13, Yard Dog Art Gallery will be at the Canopy arts complex on Springdale Road in East Austin. Yard Dog will take up the back half of the suite occupied by Bale Creek Allen Gallery.
“I’m moving Yard Dog to Canopy because I want to be a part of a bigger arts scene and I love what’s happening over there,” says Franklin. “I’m really excited about taking part in Open Canopy Friday nights.”
Indeed, the move puts Yard Dog in good company. Canopy is home to Big Medium, the organization that puts on the East Austin Studio Tour and the Texas Biennial, along with the ICOSA collective gallery, Modern Rocks Gallery and dozens of individual artists studios who host an open studio night once a month.
This month’s Open Canopy is 7 to 11 p.m. Dec. 13.
Franklin said the location on South Congress Ave. will remain open until Dec. 31. He also said that Yard Dog will have a regular booth at Uncommon Objects, the vintage and collectibles shop that left its longtime South Congress space in 2017 when its rent skyrocketed. Uncommon Objects is still in South Austin, at 1602 Fairview Road.
“(Uncommon Objects) was a huge part of why we wanted to be on South Congress in 1995 and they were a great neighbor for 20+ years, so we’re thrilled to be joining them at their ‘new’ South Austin space,” Franklin says.
While on South Congress, Yard Dog kept a grinding seven-days-a-week schedule of open hours, Franklin that he’ll try different scenarios at Canopy before defining what kind of schedule the space will have. For the short term, the gallery will host pop-up exhibitions and events, and be open by appointment.
Yard Dog has a tradition of exhibiting art by musicians — including Bob Schneider and Jon Langford — and having live music-filled openings. Franklin says some form of that will still happen, too.