When you think of exhibiting art in alternative spaces, the first thing that comes to mind is a coffee shop show. Artists looking to get more out of the alternative space exhibition need to start branching away from your typical coffee shop and into other spaces. Finding and locating spaces that your art speaks to can make a more powerful message. This article will give you some alternative space ideas and help you begin to make the connection between your work and other possible spaces you can utilize to bring your work to a wider audience.
Hotels, hospitals and restaurants are spaces that always have art in them. Why not propose an exhibition of your work in the space? Consider churches or other spiritual spaces if your type of art fits that location. How about the art that is in your office? Are you sick of looking at that corporate piece of art that was purchased to adorn the walls? Why not ask to be in charge of a rotating gallery in the hallway, a conference room or the reception area. Look around at the spaces you use and visit daily or weekly, these are excellent places to start!
A couple of weekends ago while I was at Enki Brewery in Victoria, MN, I stumbled upon an artist who I was very familiar with who had art up at the brewery. This got me excited because the breweries and artists have a close connection. Have you walked into 612 Brewery and seen the Adam Turman mural or the collaboration he did with Jawsh for Sisyphus brewing? Or noticed how Chuck U is the creator for the art and beer can designs of Indeed. There are even contests with Surly for artists to design their next can. The Growler publishes an artist page in their bi-monthly publication. Beer and art have a strong tie in the Twin Cities. If you are looking for a space to exhibit work, consider one of the breweries!
Retail is another great place to exhibit art work. However, what store you choose to display your work in and the content of your work however must link. Think of what shops you typically go to, would they be a space that would hold art on the walls? Urban Outfitters, on Hennepin Avenue in Uptown Minneapolis, just created an in store gallery just for this purpose. This new alternative space was even mentioned in the Star Tribune by Mary Abbe. This space was created in order to build a sense of community within Urban by showing local artists in the gallery space. Every first Thursday of the month, there is a reception open to the public with pizza and beer. To check out the gallery for yourself, feel free to pop into the store and see the gallery for yourself up on the 2nd floor.
There are plenty of alternative spaces that are already using their walls for exhibiting and a lot more that have not found a gallery spaces as a possible solution to their bare walls. Feel free to reach out, ask questions and suggest them hanging your art. During these alternative gallery shows, especially if you are working with a space that has not hung art or had a gallery space before, you will have to do most if not all of the grunt work. This means the hauling, placing, installing, tagging and more. Everything a gallery space would do for you is now your responsibility. Whats great about this is however, that you get to choose how your art is exhibited. You are in control of your own work and how its shown.