1) Where did the idea of starting a gallery come from?
The idea was initially conceived by Lane Cove Council. They have an extensive arts program, in negotiations with developers and property companies and are always pushing the idea of community use of underused office/retail space. It’s a win-win scenario where everyone benefits, tenants and the local community get access to the arts and culture, whereas artists get an arts space that is outside the commercial gallery scene. Enabling them to showcase more experimental and non-commercial but at the same time they can have a traditional show. The space is available for themed group shows, solo exhibitions that we see as different and interesting.
Proposals are always welcome! Email us here.
2) What kind of artists do you want showing in your gallery? Is there a general skill level or style that you look for?
Our vision is to showcase awe-inspiring work, that will leave the viewer touched and inspired, whether it be master pieces by established well-known artists, Archibald portraits by top end Australian artists, intriguing installations, or skilfully crafted works by emerging, promising new talents. The works we would like to show should be exceptional, have an edge, cause discussion, provoke, make you think, exhibiting technical excellence in their craft and have contemporary relevance.
3) What is the best way to approach your gallery?
We encourage applications via our website www.project504.com.au
You can view the gallery during opening hours Mo-Fri 11-5pm.
4) What is your galleries philosophy?
Fostering excellence in art.
5) What is different about project?
Our biggest point of difference is that we combine the best of a non-for-profit ARI with features and services of a commercial gallery. A lot of ARI’s are hidden away warehouses in back streets of suburbia that rely solely on word of mouth traffic. Project  is a spacious 450 square-metre New York loft style showroom, with 4 metre high ceilings and large shop front windows facing busy Pacific Highway, surrounded by interior design and furniture stores, servicing the busy St Leonards business district.
We have all the freedoms of a non-profit organisation to put on impactful, edgy, non-commercial events and exhibitions, while at the same time providing emerging and established artists with a highly professional service, very similar to what they would expect on the commercial gallery scene. You can be sure that when you walk into either of the Project 504 galleries, you will be seeing a carefully chosen and expertly curated exhibition.
We are also a living, breathing gallery with onsite studio spaces where art happens in real time. The studios bring together a group of talented, passionate people that use their networks to promote the project and share their knowledge fostering new talent. The space is run by some well established artists who already are represented by other commercial galleries, so there is a lot of knowledge and expertise available from us. All resident artists engage in the Australian artistic community as career artists.
6) It is a hard market out there, how are you finding it?
Considering we’ve only been around for a short while, we received an avalanche of exhibition proposals. We’ve had lots of positive feedback both from local businesses as well as the arts community, with many artists popping in to say hello, welcoming us to the area. We’ve also had some fabulous turnouts at exhibition openings, with several hundreds of people attending the launch and we have growing numbers at sketch clubs and events. It may be a difficult market but as a brand new gallery, we feel confident of making a strong impact in non-commercial ways, using our innovation, expertise and networks to make our exhibitions a financial success for our artists.
7) Tell us about your gallery team?
The founder: Kathrin Longhurst, she ran an artist collective on the Northern Beaches, operated an art gallery near Manly for 3 years, later becoming the Vice President for Portrait Artists Australia and is now represented by Art Equity in Sydney, where she had several sell out solo shows.
Our Gallery Director: Vanessa Callum, runs a successful PR business and operates out of our North Sydney Gallery on Berry Street. She oversees contracts, events, PR, printing, advertising, bookkeeping and the day-to-day running of Project.
Gallery Manager: Lucy West-Sooby, oil painter extraordinaire and 2014 winner of the prestigious Brett Whiteley scholarship at the Julian Ashton Art School. She manages the operation of the St. Leonard’s gallery, handling inquiries and getting exhibitions off the ground. She is the friendly first point of contact for artists interested in hiring the space for exhibitions, events and workshops, or simply wanting to know more about Project .
Our front-of-House: Krista Brennan, Illustrator and art teacher is with us on a part-time basis as front of house.
PR/Marketing: Mark Rowden, National Art School graduate and established artist/print-maker Mark brings a wealth of knowledge in PR and marketing through his widespread network of artists and art enthusiasts.
Gallery Curator: Marcus Callum, three times Archibald finalist is heading our curatorial team working closely with exhibiting artists and selecting the most exciting works for shows at our gallery space.
8) Have you any advice when choosing a gallery to show in?
Finding the right match is not always easy. Sometimes trial and error is the way to go. Artist run spaces are a great way to test the market with a new body of work or if you have no contractual ties to a commercial gallery. It also allows you to showcase your work and invite commercial galleries to see it in a professional setting if your long term goal is to find permanent gallery representation.
9) There are plenty of ARI (Artist run initiatives) out there, What are your thoughts on these spaces within the market?
ARIs are a really important part of the art world, they lie somewhere between commercial galleries and public/regional galleries. The often give collectors access to new talents early in their careers, they allow the artists to learn new skills and get familiar with the exhibition process and different aspects of marketing and selling their work in a communal environment. The instant feedback on work can also make a difference to an artist’s development.
10) Melbourne vs Sydney how do you see the arts and the major differences?
A lot of people tell us that Sydney is a better market for selling art. The Melbourne art market tends to be more conservative and take longer to adopt a new artist. We’ve had several exhibition proposals from Melbourne artists to exhibit here, so it looks like people are quite excited about being shown in Sydney.
11) Social media is everywhere, do you use it and does it help the gallery?
Yes, we use social media to keep our fans informed about upcoming shows, workshops, events and what’s new in the gallery. We like to showcase new works that arrived and which artworks we particular find interesting.
12) What art do you have on your wall at home and your office?
Being an artist, the best way to build my own collection is to trade work with other artists I like. So most of the pieces that are hanging on my wall are works by my artist friends and a few smaller pieces I have purchased at exhibitions.
13) Where can we find out more about your gallery?
To Book a show or get some more information email here.
14) What shows are coming up over the next couple of months?
Next up at the gallery is a show by acclaimed photographer David Charles Collin of his Black and white photographs called “Silver Narcissus”. Then we have a 3 man show of paintings, drawings and sculpture called “Quick Shot” by Leonie Robison, Paul Hattaway and Adrienne Watson and after that a two man show with paintings and sculpture called “Nebulae and Elementals” by Archibald finalist Guy Morgan and sculptor Lee Blattman. For more information visit our website.
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