New Exhibition Spaces, Production Studios
Proposed For Kentville Downtown
An urgent call is going out this week to Nova Scotia artists seeking opinions and expressions of interest in a unique arts and crafts explosion planned for Kentville later this year.
On the drawing boards are plans for a creative centre under one roof that will feature an artist co-op gallery for established and emerging artists, as well as a printmaking co-op studio and exhibition space, a pottery co-op studio and exhibition space, and an education co-op for weekly classes and workshops in many arts and crafts techniques.
In addition, there will be potential within the centre for small, inexpensive artist studios and small, inexpensive offices for arts and culture organizations from the Kings County region.
The project is being co-ordinated by the Kentville Art Gallery Society (KAGS), a two-year old community-based, non-profit organization in Kings County. KAGS created the Hardware Gallery in downtown Kentville in 2018 but recently decided to alter the gallery’s structure to that of an artist co-op gallery as it seeks to extend its current lease with the Town of Kentville, owner of downtown building.
Officials of KAGS say they want to hear from artists who might be interested in being part of the gallery or the production co-ops, with particular attention given to artists living or working in the Annapolis Valley and Kings County region. Each of the organizations will have separate memberships.
Critical questions have to be answered in the next month or two, say KAGS spokesmen, Bob Hainstock and Sasha Nelson.
“The most immediate question is the potential response of artists to memberships in a new artist-run gallery as well as the larger, multi-layered project” says Hainstock. “We’re not asking for individual commitments or cheques right now, but we want to hear from established and emerging artists interested in going to the next stage, meeting and helping shape a new, exciting option for visual artists and artisans.”
The response of artists to potential membership will determine whether the project, in part or whole, continues to the next stage. Individuals interested in membership in any of the art or craft co-ops should email KAGS at the following address:
The co-op gallery will be structured on the same format used by other successful co-op art galleries in Nova Scotia, namely; a 12-month membership paid in monthly, quarterly or annual amounts; monthly
gallery changes for artists’ new work; a commitment by each member to “sit” the gallery for at least one day per month; and, the right of all members to continue to show their artwork in other galleries.
Each co-op space/activity would be structured so that annual membership fees would cover annual operating costs such as rent, heat and light, while members would provide manpower needed to maintain public access at least six days per week.
One unique feature in the proposed Kentville gallery will be a low, 20% commission retained by the gallery for any sales or rentals of members’ artwork. Half of all gallery commissions will be placed in the Fair Share Fund and divided equally by all member artists at the end of each year. It’s expected that each member will receive a Fair Share refund equal to one or two months membership fees.
Membership fees in the gallery are expected to be about $100 per month for full membership, and $60 per month for a shared membership. Space within the gallery will be divided equally by members, and all artists will rotate to a different space each month. The organizers estimate 10-12 full members and 4-6 half members in the first year, and will include artists working in both 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional artworks.
The printmaking co-op and pottery co-op will operate as separate activities; each with its own membership obligations and benefits. Each of these production co-ops will require 12-15 members in the initial year, with membership fees expected to range from $30-$45 per month. The membership will reflect a balance of beginner, intermediate and advanced skill levels, with instruction programs aimed at the same balance of skill levels and experience.
Community volunteers will play a role in administration and policy advice, as well as assisting in identifying educational needs through regular classes or special workshops.
Nelson and Hainstock encouraged interested individuals to contact KAGS with preliminary interest and information so that dates for further meetings and group discussions can be held. A jury of established artists will help determine initial membership of each co-op.