Getting creative with this week’s ‘Behind the best’ interview, we talk to Melissa Hardwick, Arts Manager & Curator for the Free Space Gallery in Kentish Town.
For any of our readers who aren’t aware of you, can you give us an intro to the business?
The Free Space Gallery is a gallery based within the Kentish Town Health Centre, We seek to provide free exhibition space for up and coming artists especially those with messages of social justice in their work. The aim is to put art directly into the centre of the community and to expose anyone visiting the centre to artwork in various forms.
Where can we find you, and why did you choose to set up shop where you did? - What attracted you to that area?
We are based on the first floor of the Kentish Town Health Centre in north London. This area of London is full of artists who are looking for somewhere to exhibit their work, it is a vibrant area which the Free Space Gallery fits into perfectly.
What inspired you to start your business?
The Kentish Town Improvement Fund charity was created to bring art to the local community through the Free Space Gallery space and the workshops which it runs. Its success thus far has shown what a positive service it provides.
What’s your philosophy in a nutshell? What would you say makes you stand out from the crowd?
The Free Space Gallery is based on the principle of free expression and discussion and seeks to show art work which promotes discussion on issues of social justice. This is backed up by a series of talks and events which use the art as a starting point.
Can you explain how your business works and what differentiates it from your competitors’ in the industry?
The Free Space Gallery provides free exhibition space for up and coming artists in an award winning public building. We are different from those other small galleries around us because of the sheer numbers of people who are exposed to the work hanging in the gallery. The Kentish Town Health Centre within which we are based, provides a flagship NHS facility and art and community work is key to this.
Do you have a signature product you could tell us about?
Our next event will be a private view of the work of Pascal Ancel Bartholdi his work is a beautiful manipulation of story telling photographs. His monochromatic photographs seek to transport us from a world in which we are over stimulated by colours and advertisements. This will be at the smaller of the Free Space Galleries based at 76 Queens Crescent, London, NW5 4EB, 15th September 6-9pm.
What would you say is the secret to a successful independent business? What advice would you give to someone looking to follow in your shoes?
Dedication and determination is essential to successful independent ventures. And this has definitely been the secret to the Free Space Gallery.
Can you share a few of your favourite local, independent businesses with us?
Finally, what can we expect from you in 2011/2012? Anything our readers should be looking forward to?