After seven years in three locations, most recently at the 103 Gallery on Spring Street, Eye Level Art is closing its doors, the latest casualty of a struggling economy.

Proprietor Mike Elder announced Thursday he will close the contemporary art gallery following final shows Dec. 16-17, at which time the Buffalo native plan to return to New York City.

"I've probably done more than 300 events here since I've started," he said. "There have been great shows and mediocre ones, but no bad shows. I have no hard feelings against Charleston, which I think is progressing in contemporary art."

Elder said it was all about the economy.

"I just don't see any light beyond the tunnel when it comes to the economy picking up and allowing Eye Level Art to do the things in art, music and film that I want to do," he said.

"It's sad, but my lease is up the first of the year, and I've been preparing myself for this decision for the past 12 months."

Elder said he has no plans to open a gallery in New York.

What excites him now is the dream of launching an Internet television station to focus on art "in all its forms."

"I feel confident I have positively affected the community here and helped contemporary artists," Elder said. "But it's been difficult financially, and now it's time to think about me."

Following Eye Level's concluding art show, "Since the Beginning," on Dec. 16, the curtain falls the next day with a concert featuring the band Antique Firearms.