We are an artist-led studio gallery project in the old part of St Ives, traditionally the home of the artists’ colony. Initiated by Doris Lindemann it aims to create a space where we, eight well-known St Ives and West Cornwall artists, can make and sell our work together, independently of commercial galleries and agents.
Due to the economic downturn of the last few years plenty of artists lost their places in galleries that, in many cases, had represented them for long years, as galleries had to close due to loss of business or retirement.
To us the obvious solution was to look for a practical and affordable way of selling our work out of our own studios. This meant we needed to find studios that are likely to get a retail licence and are in an area with good footfall – a major challenge in a town where property is at a premium!
To make the studio gallery idea feasible and affordable it was clear: we needed to share, share a studio space, share the cost and share the responsibility of keeping the place open to the public as much as we possibly can.
Still looking for suitable premises after 3 years we decided to rent the Salthouse Gallery in St Ives for six weeks in 2012 to treat ourselves to a trial run of the whole idea. We found that we really enjoyed our time there, got plenty of work done, sold well and had a lot of fun.
Also during those weeks we got lucky. We heard about a space that would suit us perfectly well – a large space that had housed Stevens Wet Fish Shop, an institution in St.Ives, for over 60 years - and is now our lovely studio and gallery in Back Road East.
We opened to the public on 28 December and have been open ever since. Feedback so far has been great. The place looks bright and inviting with a fantastic selection of very reasonably priced paintings, drawings, prints and jewellery as the participation of six very different artists makes for an attractive variety of the work on show.
We are all very happy to be part of our project, happy that we managed to turn a serious dilemma to our advantage, happy to have total autonomy in deciding what work we wish to produce and at what prices to sell it, happy to just work and be together.