Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Why shop at a commercial Art Gallery?

by Jill Yuzwa – Gallerist – AyrSpace Gallery – Ayr, Ontario Canada

The last few weeks in the gallery have been another period of intense learning.

I have taken the message about the quality of our offerings in the gallery for granted and thought that the levels of authenticity and accountability we adhere to would be a given in the minds of the public.

Let me explain:

I had a lovely woman in last week trying on the designs of one our silversmiths.  “These are beautiful and so nice to wear,” she said of our handcrafted meditation rings by a local silversmith. “You know I was in (another village in the region) and a ring like this was priced over twice as much…and the maker and materials were not indicated.”

“Huh”…I thought. “Why was the artist or maker not indicated?” Perhaps the ring in question was factory made, or perhaps it was not 100% sterling and the alloys or materials were not indicated.

When a ring is offered for sale at over three hundred dollars and an individual artist or maker is not credited that sends up a red flag. This situation, however, may happen when things are production made. The woman saw the other ring at a fancy clothing store, branded for it's location, not necessarily quality.

Another couple rode into the village on their motorcycle a month ago. “Paintings” they said, “We like the idea of a gallery to monitor artists for us to consider. There was a young woman who came to our door last night asking large dollars for paintings on rolled up canvas. She was not the painter, did not know who the painters were, but pitched the artwork nonetheless.”

In art galleries transparency is generally part of the protocol. Most of us don’t bring in production-made items. That would just defeat the purpose of the artist and our representation of them in our galleries.

Certainly the background of the artist must be accounted for.  Where are they educated? What does their CV look like? Have they received grants to support their work?  Have they been juried into any professional arts organizations? It all boils down to the rigor that artists and makers have put into their careers.

At AyrSpace Gallery we have followed the models of most of Canada’s art and design colleges and universities.  We embrace and offer works of visual artists: painters, fine art print-makers, sculptors, and of functional artists: ceramic artists, jewellery artists and glass artists.

The funny thing is that messaging outside of large centres is that original works at commercial galleries are prohibitive in cost. Not so. If you can afford dinners out, you can consider collecting original works.

Why not start today and support Canadian artists?

I believe in community economic development and in October 2008 put forth my own resources, with the help of fine art and business mentors, to develop a gallery of distinguished Canadian artists – AyrSpace Gallery of Visual and Functional Art in Downtown Ayr, Ontario, Canada, my hometown. This destination gallery is located the southernmost point of the Region of Waterloo minutes off Highway 401.

My undergraduate degree in landscape architecture is from an Ontario university with a highly respected Fine Art department. Studying drawing and sculpture was a requirement in landscape architecture. My advanced degree is in Local Economic Development and my current academic work encompasses global Cultural Policy shifts and Art in the Community.

Sterling silver meditation ring by Kim Kropf at AyrSpace Gallery.