Could the Surrealists have convened at a Wafflehouse and still have made the impact they did?
Is part of the allure and the mechanism for creativity and intense philosophical debates reliant upon where they take place?
When I had my art gallery, I had grand designs of it being a place where people could meet and exchange ideas, where people could come and be inspired, awed, disturbed, and happy. I wanted to have classes, host multi-art events - in short, I wanted to be able to engage people in art and artful conversation.
But the gallery was not an old warehouse, or a brownstone, or a former Victorian apothecary. It wasn't located in a particularly artsy part of town. Part of a strip mall, it was off of the main street that runs through the middle of Savannah clear out to I-95. Devoid of any noteworthy architecture, it had formerly been the site of a gas station which had simply been added to over time with a large expansive showroom emanating from the center, once home to a piano store and a lamp shop.
For a gallery space, it was more than adequate, lacking only in a higher ceiling which would have been more spatially appealing. While it was mostly three walls of plate glass windows, which cut down on hanging space, it gave a sense of openness and allowed the people whizzing by glimpses of art if they happened to look in a westerly direction.
|Formerly OC Welch dealership sign|
Photo credit esywlkr
The gallery was nestled in between a popular breakfast chain and a used car lot. While the car lot might have been a total downer, it did have a really huge, neon sign circa the 1960s.
If the restaurant had been hipper - we might have had something worthwhile going on. But alas - we just weren't able to garner interest. No amount of press, events, or networking could get people to come on a regular basis. So there was no envisioned salon. No birth of an art movement. No lasting impression on the Savannah art scene. Now, it's a pawn shop.
I have very romantic notions of the salons of old, of the Salon Dada, the Pre-Rafaelite Brotherhood, or the Algonquin Round Table.
|Algonquin Round Table by Natalie Ascencios|
I will be hosting bi-monthly meetings of artists structured around the book, "Walking in This World" by Julia Cameron, a follow up to her successful "The Artist's Way".
None of us are ground-breakers in the art world. Only a few of us have had formal art training. A couple of us are teachers. There are no men among us - though we welcome anyone who shares our way of thinking and creating. I live in a ranch house - the sort of structure from which you could make a fairly accurate 3-D model using only a shoe box and some strips of cardboard to section off the rooms.
I don't know if it's the sort of space that would inspire or infuse a sense of creativity. Our meetings will be in the breakfast nook which overlooks my very unkempt backyard. I hope something lasting and meaningful comes from our bi-monthly meetings; I'm sure our discussions will be very lively if nothing else, a handful of 40-somethings re-embarking on a quest to put art and creativity back at the center of our lives. I should think of it in less grandiose terms, less of a salon, more of a play date.
And looking at the big picture, there's nothing wrong with that.