Leaving Colorado Springs after high school, Abby Kreuser earned a bachelor of fine arts in fine art photography from Rochester Institute of Technology, and she also studied photography and graphic design at Colorado Mountain College.

Returning home in 2003, she started Kreuser Gallery, specializing in black-and-white, color and sepia photographs of children, maternity, weddings and fine art photography while managing her mother Pat Ellis’ business, Purple Mountain Coffee Company.

“Kreuser didn’t have a physical space at first,” she said. “I just put my photographs on the wall at Purple Mountain.”

But she didn’t confine herself to Purple Mountain’s walls. Since 2003 Kreuser’s art has been featured at Cottonwood Gallery, Phantom Canyon, Smokebrush, The Warehouse, Marika’s and many other locations. She also worked with local galleries to feature and install the work of new artists.

In 2011 she opened her gallery at 218 W. Colorado Ave. in the downtown Depot Arts District.

Since opening, the gallery has gained a reputation as an exciting, innovative space, featuring not only Kreuser’s work, but also that of many other local artists.

- Advertisement -

“Abby is business smart with a heart,” said Susan Edmondson, who nominated her. “She goes all the way in anything she commits to and creates multiple benefits to the community.”

“We just celebrated our five-year anniversary in the space,” Kreuser said. “We exhibit local artists in every medium, not just photography. My heart is in helping other artists to market their work and become successful. I’d love to be able to do art full-time, but the business is up and down — so I work at other jobs as well as at the gallery.”

Earlier this month, the gallery hosted the second annual Pikes Peak Community College Awardees Show, a collaboration that enables students to exhibit their pieces in a professional gallery.

In the future, Kreuser would like to open a mixed-use venue, one with enough revenue streams to allow her to concentrate on one physical space.

“It could be a coffee shop/wine bar/gallery,” she mused.

In the meantime, Kreuser and her mother have plans for yet another business.

“We’re going to print my paintings on scarves,” she said. “We’ll test the market with just a table in the gallery and then expand to boutiques, online — we’ll see how it goes.”

— John Hazlehurst