The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Nov 07, 2012

Your home, your gallery: insights into the nuts and bolts of D.I.Y. art shows

Posted by sschouweiler

Before it became the Walker Art Center, it was just lumber baron T.B. Walker's home. Photograph: T.B. Walker Art Gallery, 807 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis. Photograph Collection ca. 1890. Photo courtesy of the Minnesota Historical Society

A few years ago, in 2009, Andy Sturdevant wrote a wonderful essay for (where I serve as editor) on “occasional” galleries, ad hoc exhibition spaces set up for a night or two in otherwise private spaces: temporarily cleared out homes and apartments, briefly repurposed studio spaces. He described such ephemeral galleries as “a system of interconnected rooms one learns to navigate through informal channels, which operate, paradoxically, as both a supplement and a critical response to the traditional art exhibition circuit, with no regard for commercial viability or critical visibility.” And because “you’re paying rent anyway,” as more than one D.I.Y. gallerist interviewed for the piece noted, you’re able to streamline the infrastructure of showing art to its bare essentials. It's an exhibition strategy perfectly suited to recent art school grads and emerging artists for whom more traditional venues are out of reach. More generally, though, it's also a useful workaround for established, entrepreneurial artists and curators living in lean economic times, when money for rent, upkeep and maintenance on more traditional spaces is harder to come by.

Sturdevant has since become a staffer over at Springboard for the Arts (a Knight Arts grantee) and, browsing through the organization's professional development programs recently, I was delighted to see that he’s hosting a panel discussion on the practical and logistical considerations, the “headaches and rewards,” of hosting such home gallery spaces yourself, this week at Springboard's Lowertown, St. Paul location.

Sturdevant will moderate a conversation with four veteran home gallerists: artists Broc Blegen (1419), Mirelle Zacharis (No Assumption), Isa Gagarin (Seltzer) and Kelsey Olson (They Won't Find Us Here). Registration for the event is appreciated but not strictly necessary; you're welcome to buy admission at the door. Tuition for the evening's panel discussion is pay-what-you-can ($20 is the recommended amount).

The “Home Galleries Panel” is scheduled for tonight, Wednesday, November 7 from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at Springboard for the Arts’ offices, 308 Prince St., suite 270, St. Paul. Find more information about the panel discussion and register in advance to attend via Springboard’s website.

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