Thursday, November 17, 2011
I have to say I wish there would be another decent gallery in Beacon again like there used to be. Instead there seem to be all these shops and cafes which are nice for sure, but the original reason they were able to get a foothold in Beacon is because of the revitalized arts scene which was first established with the Dia museum and then the galleries followed (and the antiques were really even before the art, and they have mostly left too), and then the quality galleries close because it is a difficult thing to sustain, paying rent on a space that doesn't reliably make money, or cause the owner(s) got disillusioned or were artists themselves and weren't able to do both or just decided to move on. I have had several conversations recently with different people on this subject, throwing ideas around re curating exhibitions in alternative spaces or even possibly renting a storefront space myself and using it as a gallery/studio, with the kind of art that people come here to see and are even able to buy, art for the people if you will. There is a wide spectrum of art and galleries, who they appeal to and how they are run, we have had some strong spaces here in the past, but in addition to those few which remain, there are some rather lackluster "galleries", either vanity galleries, or ones that hang a veritable hodgepodge, or show work that may be important to show but is inaccessible to the kind of people who come here to see fresh and interesting work in a town supposedly reinvigorated by art. It has been, in many ways, but I'd like to see it keep happening and I know a lot of people here now. Many make good art, some know how to curate a good show, and some have business sense and good ideas... and I am thinking of ways to bring this together. The problem is always that these people (including myself of course) don't have money to invest in such an uncertain venture. How does a gallery make money? Well there are ways. (Selling prints, small works, other objects.) This is why I've done the pop-up shops every year, the first one was more of (in my mind) an installation to brighten up a dreary storefront in a gray month where I could make things, feature the work of a few local artists, and bring people in. Having a fulltime gallery is a different matter, there are still affordable spaces, it's that I would have to settle back here and I am not sure what my plans are for the coming year. I like the idea in many ways but am reluctant to defer my hope to travel more, the way I deferred for so many years already. Also by 'fresh and interesting' I don't mean 'hip and edgy' or anything, just work by creative people who make stuff because they HAVE to create, who ARE artists and makers, not only those who say, you know what we need here, a place where you can get really good beer." Yeah I used to sit around with people and say, I wish there were somewhere cool for us to gather and talk at night, but now it's like everyone has the idea that they want to open a food/drink place. Now, I once considered opening a bakery because I like to bake and share with others, but my passion for it is not such that it would fuel the utter devotion it'd take to run, plus I would eat too much. Possibly a bakeshop/artspace amalgam, I do like this idea. I have been thinking about this stuff for a long time anyway but I realize, regarding the importance of art/thinking/absorbing/teaching/seeking versus food/drink/passively taking in experiences (although I think the other is also about taking in experiences, but it's the way you go about it. I really like sitting around with people and laughing and talking, but I get impatient sometimes) that the lasting vitality comes from the WORK. The most successful spaces in my nearly 5 years of living here demonstrate that. I'm wondering if there's a way to do it without getting disillusioned or bitter or bankrupt, I just have to get by, and I don't have any grand expectations or plans, I'm not even trying to change anyone's minds if they're not ready to be changed, but just to put something out there that I believe in, and can get some good help to make it happen. So to that end I have begun considering how.