This month’s post was contributed by Froelick Gallery.
One of the main objectives of the PADA galleries is to promote their represented artists for long-term success. There are several goals that these galleries pursue for their artists such as inclusion in prestigious public exhibitions and collections, published essays about the work, and a broad base of sales. Hometown support for an artist’s career is crucial, but to ensure vibrant, long-term success they must have patronage from other parts of the globe. Thus the agenda is to show our artists’ work to known art collectors, curators, writers, and the general public. The more eyes on the work – the better!
In an effort to connect with new audiences, we are always looking for opportunities to expand our reach in the most appropriate way. In 2010, walking around downtown, or reading business journals, it was hard not to notice the number of retail shops and restaurants “popping up” for short periods in vacant spaces from Portland to New York. Froelick Gallery invests heavily in promoting its artists work to curators around the country, but what if we had a “pop up” location in an entirely different city? It would have to be a place known to art collectors, where people could casually stroll in and see a strong selection of our artists work.
Charles Froelick was visiting Palm Springs in early 2010 and made a stop at the Palm Canyon Galleria, legendary in the design world for its boutiques offering choice mid-century European goods. He and owner Jim Gaudineer fell into a conversation about the gallery and began a long distance dialogue, with Jim ultimately offering the front space in the Galleria for a one-month Froelick Gallery exhibition.
The Palm Springs location was ideal (and we couldn’t complain that it was a sizzling paradise compared to icy Portland). In addition to the connection with the Galleria location, Froelick already had a number of personal and professional associations in the desert area. With the warm and dry climate, Palm Springs has long been a glamorous haven for snow birds from around the US. Many of our NW clients make their winter home in this desert region. Modernism Week (a fair celebrating Mid-Century design), now in its sixth year, consistently draws a huge crowd. Plus, the venue – being a Galleria with several high-quality and like-minded established businesses – was a perfect fit.
By August of 2010, we were busily making plans for our first “pop up” adventure in another state. After establishing the location, we had to figure out the logistics. How would we haul enough work to fill a second gallery for a month? Would we be able to staff both galleries with only three people? What should we exhibit?
We wanted to create a space that would reflect the spirit of the gallery in Portland, but knowing that Modernism Week would draw a particular audience, we tied into the modernist aesthetic. We chose works by Terrell James, Alfred Harris, Victor Maldonado and Robert Yoder. We also wanted to introduce a handful of other artists whose work might resonate with a Southern California audience. The references to film and TV made Nat Meade’s paintings a natural choice. Gwen Davidson recently finished a large commissioned painting for the new Nordstrom in Santa Monica; her work was added to the list. Joe Feddersen had exhibited a new series of prints and glass baskets partially inspired by Art Deco architecture and suburban development; the glass vessels would be gorgeous in the desert light. Photographer Susan Seubert created a series of bomb testing images framed in lead lined boxes – a subject matter that might strike a chord with desert residents.
With artwork chosen, floor plans laid out, labels printed, office supplies packed and sunscreen slathered, Charles was ready to leave Portland for a month in the desert. As the boxes were loaded into the van, we agreed that even if we didn’t sell one piece from the Palm Springs gallery, we would still be satisfied with the effort of meeting new people and extending our network.
We didn’t have to worry: Froelick Gallery Palm Springs received an incredible response. We sold as much work in California as we did during the same time period in Portland. Success! This was the shot in the arm that we needed – it boosted our confidence; we then participated in the December 2011 Aqua Art Miami fair in Miami Beach. It was such a positive way for us to present our artists to eager collectors, curators and writers from around the world.
Look for Froelick Gallery to “pop up” again in Palm Springs again this March! The gallery will take over the same space at the Palm Canyon Galleria, 457 N Palm Canyon Road.