Friday, February 26, 2010

WALKABOUT: S.P.A.C.E. Gallery in Burlington

by John Andrew Cipriano

Having just recently moved to Vermont from New York City, where I spent much of my time working in the art world from museums to Chelsea galleries, I must admit I was uncertain I’d ever be in a crowded art gallery on a Saturday night surrounded by people sipping on white wine intelligently discussing the artwork in front of them. I wasn’t even certain that Burlington had any significant art galleries or people who truly appreciated them.

Well, I was proven wrong after my experience at the S.P.A.C.E. Gallery located at 266 Pine Street, just seconds from downtown Burlington. Once the home of Dorn’s Venetian Ginger Ale, the so-aptly named Soda Plant has had a history reaching back nearly a century. Once simply an empty soda warehouse, converting the space into an artist collective environment was the brainchild of Christy Mitchell, a Vermont native for the past 5 1/2 years. Before the move to Vermont, Christy lived in Savannah, Georgia, where she attended The Savannah College of Art and Design studying Metals & Jewelry. One day back in April 2009, after staring into the recently abandoned warehouse, Christy dreamed up the gallery and studio collective that is now the S.P.A.C.E. and it has grown in popularity and success ever since.

That Saturday’s festivities included the Release Party of est & burly bird, a set of literary and visual art zines, and the closing of the immensely successful Small Works show which originally opened On December 4, 2009. The S.P.A.C.E. Gallery’s next show, Love in 2010, presents a select group of artists’ perspectives on love in honor of St. Valentines Day.

Christy is not simply satisfied with the occasional exhibition or party, however, and has great plans for the Gallery in 2010, so stay tuned for more amazing exhibits and wholly creative performance pieces. Most every studio space has been rented by an amazingly talented group of young artists and the gallery/exhibition spaces are to be expanded in 2010.

By the end of the evening, I forgot I was hundreds of miles from New York and I think I’ve found a new home in the ever-changing S.P.A.C.E. Gallery.