by Curlan Campbell, NOW Grenada
- Art House 473 to be model institution for art in Grenada and region
- Multipurpose art centre at Calliste, St George, opened in December 2018
Local artist Susan Mains is trying to stay ahead of the curve in the face of the changing art landscape where art collectors and art enthusiasts are looking to get more out of an art gallery experience.
This presents a new challenge as art collectors are looking for an art space to discover and experience art differently rather than the traditional gallery exhibition. This was clearly demonstrated when, after 17 years of renting at the Spiceland Mall, Mains purchased a permanent space for her art gallery and intends on making this new environment into a multipurpose art centre.
Opened in December 2018, the former Pentecostal Church in Calliste, St George, has been transformed into Art House 473 which will be the permanent home to house the Susan Mains Gallery, the Sugar Apple Gallery, studio and workshop space, and will serve as incubator space for Contemporary Caribbean art, and a central point for Grenadian artists to meet and network with other artists internationally.
While speaking with Mains about her latest venture, she pointed out that one of the biggest hurdles for art practitioners is to secure access, affordable and large enough spaces in central locations. “As you know in Grenada, we do not have a museum of visual art or an art centre, and it has always been quite difficult to find places to exhibit large exhibitions and so this place is large and so we anticipate having exhibitions both from Grenada and abroad showing regional and contemporary work that will be inspiring,” Mains said.
With this new investment, Mains is optimistic about the avenues for Grenadian art and artists themselves to flourish as well as to improve the standard.
“The way you get your work to be here is that you have to be good. We are going to keep a really high standard and the way to be good is to show your work every chance you have and then we will be putting out open calls and an open call is an invitation to submit your work for speculation from a curator who will look at the work and chose the work that goes best together with the theme and then we will put the work up and open the doors to the public.”
Mains is also excited about the second phase of the project which will be a workshop studio. “The other part will be a workshop studio where we will have classes and allow visiting artists to come in and stage workshops, so there will always be an opportunity to improve their work.”
Asher Mains has also invested in this project alongside his mother. He studied art in the United States and Europe and has started Art School Greenz to nurture young and inspiring artists. He believes that art has the potential to generate much-needed revenue for the country, but in order to ensure its viability, there must be some sort of initial investment made into the industry.
“I will make a possible contentious claim and I will invite anyone to come and talk to me about it, but more people may come to Grenada for Art than possibly athletics because we have the underwater sculpture park which people from all over the world come to see and it is used in tourism. People came to our Pavilion in 2017 and that’s people coming specifically to see Grenada and learn about Grenada and its art,” said Asher Mains as he reflected on an exhibition of their work at the Grenada National Pavilion at the Biennale di Venezia.
He says it is hoped that Art House 473 will be a model institution for art in Grenada and the region. “We want other islands to look to Grenada and say, ‘If I can only get a show in Art House 473 that will be a meaningful show’. Now for the community, we want to be able to expose people to international art and have international artists come here and have workshops and exhibits, but also again to build those networks so they will be interested in showing our own local art elsewhere.”
Susan Mains Gallery at Spiceland Mall will continue the boutique gallery which will be the gateway to Art House 473.