Before even stepping inside Gamut Gallery, you're there. Two storefront windows, one on each side of the door, have pieces from the current exhibit showcased for everyone to see. Walk inside, and you're greeted by hardwood floors and neutral walls. It's all very welcoming.
"We want to be accessible," says gallery director Jade Patrick.
This Thursday, there will be an opening reception for the last exhibition Gamut Gallery will host in its current space. The move is happening because developers want to turn the building, designed in 1907 by William Channing Whitney for the Handicraft Guild, into condos. Patrick says all occupants have until September to vacate their spaces. But there's an upside to the situation.
"For Gamut, it really is an opportunity because this space has been really great for us in many, many ways," she says. "But it also has its limitations."
When Patrick and her husband, James, first moved into the Handicraft Guild building, they were just using the basement to hang out with friends and make art an event they hosted, called CollabArt Night.
"Every Thursday night we'd get people down in the basement and we'd all make art," she says.
But the space wasn't exactly ideal. It took over three years to remodel.
"There was no bathroom, there was no light switch downstairs," she points out. "So all of the lighting that we had were extension cords and plugins."
The space upstairs, now the main gallery room, became available at an opportune time. Patrick's husband had officially started his electronic arts school, Slam Academy, a few months prior, and needed more classroom space. He asked her if she wanted the upstairs area.
"It was just an opportunity that fell in my lap," she says. "And it was like, now is the time. Let's do it."
It was a huge learning experience for Patrick, who holds a degree in economics from Hamline University. She had been around the arts for a while, as it's where she gravitated after realizing the jobs her degree prepared her for didn't appeal to her.
When it came time for Gamut's first exhibit, she asked Brant Kingman. It turned out to be beneficial for everyone involved.
"He'd had so much experience installing that he knew how to do everything," she recalls. "So that took off some of the pressure from that first thing."
They opened during 2012's Northern Spark Festival, and had over 2,000 visitors between midnight and 5 a.m.
The gallery has since shown a variety of works, including exhibitions by Kate Renee, Wundr, and Erin Sayer. While many featured artists approach Patrick about Gamut hosting a gallery show, every once in a while it's the other way around.
"On occasion I'll see somebody that I'm really taken with, and seek them out," she says.
Gamut's name partly comes from Patrick's desire for license to show anything that catches her eye, as she's always been drawn to hardworking artists who think out-of-the-box.
"At this point I only want to work with artists who really genuinely are working their ass off," she says, adding that it's too much work to do it any other way.
One of those artists is Wundr, who is one of three creatives participating in the last exhibit before Gamut prepares to move to another space.
The exhibit is called "Middle Class Aspirations," and is a group show featuring works by Urban Camper, Wundr, and Biafra, Inc. consisting of street art-style works focusing on the experiences of middle-class America and the challenges that must be faced in order to become middle class.
No matter what physical changes are in store for the Gamut, Jade says it's vital that it be accessible to everyone.
"We really want to be a gallery that's for the people, and by the people," she says.
IF YOU GO:
"Middle Class Aspirations" Gamut Gallery 1006 Marquette Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612-293-6497 The opening reception is this Thursday, June 11, from 6 to 10 p.m. There will also be a closing party Thursday, June 25, from 6 to 10 p.m. www.gamutgallerympls.com
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