For over 30 years, an artist-led gallery and performance space has been like a buried treasure in our community, with arts aficionados needing a treasure map at times to find it. But while Artspace, a nonprofit gallery space, has hopped from place to place over the years, its treasure chest of contemporary art has always been worth finding.
After Artspace closed its last exhibition in Manchester’s Plant Zero in 2020, it braced itself for another move. Today, as it seeks to find a new permanent location (if we can use the word “permanent”), the organization’s temporary exhibit and performance space is just north of Willow Lawn. That’s where we caught up with Dana Frostick, artist and former board president.
What is Artspace Gallery’s core mission?
Artspace is a nonprofit gallery for the visual and performing arts, promoting the understanding and awareness of contemporary art.
Can you characterize the extent of the problem Artspace Gallery addresses in our community?
Art is for everyone, but many people don’t realize how under-supported artists are. They need places to display their work or mount performances where the public can come and experience their vision as well as have an opportunity to purchase artwork or tickets to support them financially. Without gallery spaces, many artists would go unnoticed and be unfunded, making it difficult to continue with their creative process.
What’s another aspect that many people may not understand?
Original artwork is not only affordable but has the potential to increase in value with time and is a great method of self-expression for purchasers in a home or office space. Many of the unique works of art that Artspace offers cost less than what you would pay for a framed print of something that thousands and thousands of others already own. (Editor’s note, you can purchase artwork from Artspace’s artists here.)
What kind of work do volunteers do to help Artspace Gallery?
Our volunteers do everything around the gallery. They tend the office during open hours, help out at openings and events, hang shows and work on facilities. Our artist members and community members manage our committees helping with the selection of exhibitions, recruitment of new members, outreach shows of our artwork, the development of programming and partnership and the executive decisions involved with operations. We also utilize interns to help with publicity (especially social media posts) and video creations.
If $100,000 fell from the sky tomorrow, how would you spend it?
I’d spend $100,000 on establishing a full-time position for an executive director. All our work is done by volunteers, especially our artist members. Hiring an executive director would allow our artists to focus more time on the creation of artwork and would give the gallery a focused individual to manage all our office needs and explore new grant opportunities.
Photo information: A photo of a biennial international miniature invitational, entitled ThinkSmall. Photo by John MacLellan