The Exhibition : 11 residencies for 12 artists, a year of commitment
Ana Pallares, Mervyn Diese, Jaime Valtierra, Anna Burel, Mark Rathmell, Johnny Cole, Jane Smith, Ben Connors, Barnaby Tydeman, Sarah Hill, Maria Contastinou, Jo Roberts
In January 2017, Hundred Years Gallery approached GreatArt with the idea of a collaboration between both companies, aiming to improve the artist support that the gallery, as a non profit artists’ community space, had been giving for the last five years. The artist who introduced the project was Ana Pallares, a talented young woman fighting her mental disorders through her art,
who at the time was having a residency in our basement gallery and whose popularity was growing due to the strong engagement her work has with the art audience. My first meeting with Louise Rose, Marketing Executive of the shop, was very welcoming and supportive. She immediately offered me a monthly weekend residency during a one year period in which artists could develop their ideas in the shop, in a relaxed atmosphere in the open space
by the main window which faces the busy Kingsland Road. GreatArt also supported each residency with a £150 worth of art materials per day of the residency (which, for most of the artists, was a kind of fortune), and generous discounts on many products from then onwards.
Each month Hundred Years Gallery introduced a different artist developing different techniques and ideas. Whilst some were already involved in ongoing projects others started new projects with the residency. After a few months our partnership grew, when the gallery, with its annual open call for artists, asked GreatArt if they would support this project also, and they did!
Our Open Calls aim to select artists for a big exhibition with works from all disciplines, backgrounds and ages, and including an organised program of events to allow the audience to see and hear more about the artists and their careers, and to have a better experience of the gallery as a community space. The gallery also runs a visitors vote scheme, in which the audience is invited to select their favourite artists. The artists with the largest public vote are
awarded a solo show in the gallery. GreatArt then offered to increase the number of prizes, giving three of their weekend residencies and an extra voucher of £200 in art materials. Thanks to that, our Open Call Exhibition 2017 rewarded not one or two, but five prizes to the artists with
the most votes.
Over all, both GreatArt & Hundred Years Gallery have been very pleased with the outcome of this project, based in the high quality of the works produced and also in the engagement generated by the open to the public residencies scheme. This has made me want to continue and finalize this great project with an exhibition in Hundred Years Gallery of the works produced, including a series of events in which the artists involved will participate in different
ways, with community dialogue, inviting other local companies to join us with their support, reaching a major audience and allowing the gallery space its own maintenance and development.
As a not for profit company, Hundred Years Gallery relies heavily on the generosity of the audience’s donations and this is why, in this present time of austerity the generosity of GreatArt is so important and crucial. We would like very much if its attitude would encourage others to do the same.
Montse Gallego. London, March 2018
Hundred Years Gallery Founder .