New models make gallerists creative entrepreneurs | ArtsHub Australia
In a climate where commercial galleries have been closing at a rapid rate, we look at two galleries on how they can open a new space now.
Key to opening a new gallery at a time when so many are closing, is finding new ways to structure the relationship between buyer, artist and gallery.
John Stafford and partner Jodie Cox started CREATIVEMOVE, an art consultancy that specializes in public art and working with the government and business sectors. This month they are opening Onespace, a new shopfront in the hipster location of Brisbane suburb, West End.
Cox and Stafford aim to turn the gallery model slightly on its head with a space that is not quite commercial gallery, not an artist-run-space and sitting shy of an experimental hub.
‘Our economic model isn’t predicated on that I am a gallery and you are a collector. That binary is under such strain,’ said John Stafford. ‘We just think there are other ways of doing it.’
Onespace aims to build on the axis of public art, design and fashion, and hopes to be a bit of a landing pad for artists from more remote locations in Northern Queensland.
‘There is lots of good art outside our capitals but they just don’t have that entry point. We want to think of Onespace as a possible portal,’ said Stafford.
Onespace is positioned within walking distance to Brisbane’s Southbank cultural heavyweights, Queensland College of Art and Queensland Art Gallery/Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA).
‘This catchment area is really significant. It also requires standards from us,’ said Stafford.
To coincide with GOMAs tenth anniversary celebrations they will show Cairns artist Brian Robinson, an artist CREATIVEMOVE took to Monaco.
NEW FUNDING MODELS
Another space soon to open is Nth Gallery in the Melbourne suburb of North Fitzroy. It also has gone the non-traditional path, turning to crowdfunding to garner support for a model that is about creating affordable space for artists..
Its founders, artists Russell Dammers, Matthew Engert and Fumikazu Kubota are studio-mates at J-Studios, a not-for-profit art space also in North Fitzroy. They intend to create a new white cube for experimentation in a disused school science laboratory.
‘There just isn’t enough affordable gallery space, so we’re doing something about it,’ said Dammers.
Nth will not charge emerging artists and curators to exhibit and will not take commissions on works sold.
Dammers, Engert and Kubota are determined to create a new ARI model, one that nurtures the careers of emerging artists and curators by providing a world-class exhibition space absolutely free of charge.
To do so they have kicked off a crowdfunding campaign on Indigogo in preparation for the grand opening in February 2017. Any excess donations beyond the targeted $7,500 – raised by the 16 October deadline – will go to inaugural exhibitors.
Like Nth. Onespace is moving into an area that is intersects with design and innovation.
‘Onespace is a space designed for innovation within the evolving arts economy,’ explained Cox.
‘We aim to stimulate an entrepreneurial conversation between like-minded and diverse practitioners, and moves between gallery practice, public space and other platforms’ Stafford added.
Like Nth. It will also be available to artists, curators and designers to make proposals, and hire fees will be negotiable and wont follow a traditional model.
‘The area that we are in hasn’t got a big network of galleries. It has a couple of ARIs and is a growing area and that ‘new wave’ could help support what we do, and visa versa,’ said Cox.
TAKING THE RISK
The people prepared to try these new models understand that what they are doing is risky.
‘I don’t think we would be doing this if we were risk adverse. Risk should be part of the arts and we have to embrace it and to continue to play in this space.’
Stafford likened risk in the arts to jelly wrestling. ‘It is really hard to nail it down. Risk is part of what Australians do well.
‘You have to keep that stretch going – sometimes it is good and sometimes it is provocative. You can’t always predict it and which angle it is coming from. To be dynamic and flexible is the model you have to be today,’ said Stafford.
He noted that the sector recognizes that it is under a lot of stress and that the traditional government program is being disrupted, both from within and outside.
‘There are certainly some parallel opportunity that come with that disruption, and we are hoping to jump on some of those,’ he said.
‘To remain sustainable you have to embrace diversity. We couldn’t expect to succeed on one model alone. I don’t think it is easy.’
Stafford said that the character that captures Brisbane’s art scene is that there has been a consistency of experimental spaces and ARIs, lead by the Institute of Modern Art (IMA).
‘You could think of Brisbane as the “green shoot capital” – that young, vibrancy is what keeps driving this art scene forward,’ he said.
It is also what is driving Nth’s model in Fitzroy.
13a Gladstone Road, Highgate Hill
Opens 11 November 2016
111 Holden St, North Fitzroy
FIRST PUBLISHED ON FRIDAY 11 NOVEMBER, 2016
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Gina Fairley covers the Visual Arts nationally for ArtsHub. Based in Sydney you can follow her on Twitter @ginafairley and Instagram at fairleygina.
Image: Brian Robinson, ‘Githalai I’ (rendering), 2016; © Brian Robinson and CREATIVEMOVE / © Photo: TILT Industrial Design and The Artificial