gallery space third place

monday sermon. april 29 2013

                            gallery space third place

a dream:  to create a boutique workshop gallery in downtown calgary from one of the character homes, with a small plot intensive yard space, and workshop area in the back. this will enable the business to be self sufficient and give back to the community where able.  have a tea room that entertains while the gallery is open daily, using items grown on premises to encourage comfort and discussion.  bi-monthly shows to keep the space fresh and allow as many artists display space as possible.  small commissions and special no commission cabaret events, so artists may make the most of their sales.

more accessible gallery space, for artists, as well as the public is crucial to the next wave of cultural development.  an american urban sociologist, Ray Oldenburg, created the term third place.  these places should be; free or inexpensive, food and drink ready, highly accessible, involve regulars, welcoming and comfortable, both new friends and old could be found there.  a real celebration of urban culture would allow for artists of all varieties access to skills and support.

in order to function as neutral ground and social leveler, a space that shows work can also host classes and workshops.  the tea room introduces the idea of socialisation to a space where people often leave very quickly.  a commercial gallery can feel too posh for some to enjoy, while alternative spaces are too eclectic for others.  if conversation is to be a main activity then the space should be comfortable for people to go to and have an engaged discussion.  refreshments will definitely prolong the stay of certain visitors, a pleasant place to sit and view art in the community will create more dialogue for the artists and art viewers.

accessibility and accommodation is hard to foster in the art world.  it is too often seen as a luxury activity, esoteric and insidious, as though artists are only out for their own gain, rather than the gain of us all with the creation of beauty.  what this gallery proposes is a return to the values of the salon, highlighting conversation, appreciation and engagement.  in order to foster the atmosphere of a salon, there needs to be regulars, who come more than once a month to make the tone and mood and attract and engage newcomers making them an integral part of the gestalt of the place.

a gallery that would avoid feeling snobby or pretentious, and accepting of all types of individuals, from several different walks of life, would be the intent of this new space.  providing support and creating culture without coming off extravagant or grandiose, keeping the mood playful for ideas to be bandied about.  innovation comes from a free flow of information and ideas coupled with encouragement to create.  most current galleries don’t create a playful mood that promotes conversation except during specific events, such as openings.

the importance of a place to play with ideas, a home away from home for artists and art appreciators alike, is the matter of adding creativity to the problem solving dialogue of our society.  it is time for a gallery where you belong, where everybody knows your name and a person feels they might bring their lunch or enjoy an after work cup of tea, maybe even with the artist.  a gallery that would welcome and regenerate all who entered.  where artists could trade tips of their crafts together with other artists or enthusiasts, where the public could have their puzzlement with art dispelled, and artists could meet their public to help communicate their ideas into more homes and more lives.

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