Today, 7th October 2018, marks exactly 2 years since our very first exhibition ‘ONE’
Here are some of the highlights and lessons learned:
Lesson 1 - How to name an art exhibition
We opened an the gallery with no experience in running an art gallery or any other type of business. We have relied on our passion for contemporary art, people and Manchester. We didn’t know what we didn’t know, thank goodness, because we would never have started if we had! So, we went literal and named our first exhibition ONE. After that we thought about just carrying on 2, 3, 4. That would just be silly though wouldn’t it? There are actually exhibition title generators available on line,we didn't use them, honestly. ’Fantastic Extravaganza? - The Dysfunction of Remediation’ was todays suggestion. We have found that asking the artists for suggestions (after all they are the creative ones) or just coming up with something quickly because we have to send out a press release in half an hour is working well. We have also discovered thousands of other things which we didn’t know how to do and are working our way slowly down the list.
Lesson 2 - Manchester is brilliant
We have always loved Manchester – Ian (co- director and husband) went to university here in the late 80s, what a buzz to be a music obsessed student living in Manchester then. I thought he was really cool. Now I’m getting a similar feeling about working in Manchester and contributing in a small way to its fantastic cultural scene. Mostly I love the people we are meeting and getting to know. At first I worried about how we would be perceived, a couple of middle-aged upstarts with no experience, opening an art gallery in Manchester. I shouldn’t have worried at all. We have been supported and encouraged by so many people, artists, other galleries, local residents, local business and our customers....And I still think Ian is cool!
Lesson 3 - Just do it
Is there ever a good time to leave your secure, well-paid job and follow a hare-brained plan?
We have certainly had some challenges over the last 2 years, not least Ian going through a course of chemotherapy soon after opening the gallery and welcoming our first grandchild Amelia into our lives and our home (the home that we downsized into so that we could open the gallery).
We have discovered that now is the right time. We are having a great adventure, one that we would never have experienced if we hadn’t just done it.
There have been so many – here are a few.
Finding the space – we love our ‘Railway Cottage’ in Castlefield, historic, peaceful, yet so close to the centre of the city. The Castlefield Forum have welcomed us as members and we are well looked after by our landlords Castlefield Estates
Our Inaugural Exhibition ONE - we even shocked ourselves by how good it looked! The Lord Mayor at the time came along. (the sexy one – Carl Austin-Behan)
New Light Art Prize Exhibition – what a privilege to be involved in this wonderful exhibition as sponsors of the ‘Emerging Artist’ prize.https://newlight-art.org.uk/
MANIFEST – so proud to be a part of this excellent five-day artist-led biennial arts festival https://www.facebook.com/manifestartsfestival/
This is how we met art historian Sara Riccardi of Art Across who has curated some wonderful art history /artist talks in the gallery https://www.artacross.co.uk/bio
Manchester Film Festival – showing the experimental films on the gallery wall for the past 2 years and meeting some of the international film makers http://www.maniff.com/
Manchester Contemporary – it’s a year since we took part in the Manchester Contemporary. What a wonderful, exhausting weekend – we are just getting ready for this year when we will have stand 230 in the Manchester Art Fair 2018 https://www.manchesterartfair.co.uk/
The artists - Getting to know so many artists and visit their studios and being inspired by their work ethic, creativity, talent and resilience.
Thank you to everyone who has been a part of our first 2 years. Apparently surviving this long is a good sign.