Hanson Howard Gallery, a fixture on North Main Street for the past 24 years, is moving to make way for a Thai Pepper restaurant expansion.

Hanson Howard Gallery, a fixture on North Main Street for the past 24 years, is moving to make way for a Thai Pepper restaurant expansion.

But founder and co-owner Judy Hanson Howard isn't planning to move the gallery far.

She will occupy the front part of a space next to Standing Stone Brewing Co. that previously housed a bookstore. The popular brew pub on Oak Street is renovating the store so it can expand its offices into the rear portion of the space and allow the gallery to use the front portion.

Hanson Howard Gallery's last day at 82 N. Main St. will be on Wednesday, Dec. 22.

The gallery first opened in a historic home on Siskiyou Boulevard in 1979, sharing space with Bloomsbury Books, before moving to its current spot in 1987. Bloomsbury Books is also now downtown.

Gallery co-owner Barbara Tupper is retiring from the business, but Hanson Howard will stay with it.

"I'm certainly eligible for retirement," Hanson Howard said. "It's been 31 years. It's been a good run and people love this gallery. That's why I'm going to continue on."

She said the gallery likely will reopen in May 2011 in the space next to Standing Stone.

While the brew pub is on a side street, and not directly on Main Street, Hanson Howard said the gallery will be in a good location for business.

"Standing Stone is very popular. We've been by a very popular restaurant. People really pay attention to our art when they go out to eat," she said.

A cement ramp walkway that connects the Oregon Shakespeare Festival's Angus Bowmer Theatre to downtown also spills out near the intersection of Oak Street and North Main Street. Many OSF patrons walk down Oak Street as they return to their cars and hotel rooms, Hanson Howard said.

Artists represented by the gallery had a surprise party and a cake for Hanson Howard and Tupper before the start of December's First Friday Art Walk.

"It was a really nice thing for them to do," Hanson Howard said.

Through Dec. 22, the gallery is holding its Annual Holiday Salon, featuring the work of local and regional artists who have been with the gallery for many years.

To watch a brief video of the December exhibit with commentary from Hanson Howard about the gallery's history and pending move, visit www.hansonhowardgallery.com and click on "Exhibitions."

Staff reporter Vickie Aldous can be reached at vlaldous@yahoo.com or 541-479-8199.