After a year that shuttered many galleries and arts organizations across the country, three long-established Atlanta-based galleries—Marcia Wood Gallery, Mason Fine Art, and September Gray—recently announced their move into a brand new, shared space. While gallery districts are nothing new, and gallery swaps and exchanges like Condo have been steadily emerging over the last decade, the model of shared commercial space is rare among the Atlanta gallery community. The new 9,000 square foot space on Miami Circle situates the galleries on a street known for art and design businesses. With a grand opening of the new space slated for September 9, 2021, Burnaway sat down with the three gallerists to hear more about their motivation to move into a shared space, and how their approach to their program has been shaped by the pandemic.
How did the decision to share a space come about?
Mark Karelson (Mason Fine Art): The idea came out of a mutual respect among the three galleries and the feeling that we can accomplish more as collaborators rather than as competitors. This model benefits artists who are now seen by a wider audience and collectors, who now have access to a greater variety and depth of art choices in a single location. Each of the galleries benefits from the interface. We are smarter more creative and motivated together. And we are promoting each other’s programs to a wider audience.
September Gray: How can we move the needle forward and have a bigger impact with our clients and community? We believed collaboration and having great creative energy would make us a stronger force and be around like-minded individuals all striving for the same thing. We all have invaluable experience that we could share with each other.
Marcia Wood: We felt it would be pro-active and symbolic to join forces as we came out of the pandemic with people being able to get together again. The existing gallery district of Miami Circle was also exciting with so many galleries in proximity.
Did the pandemic change anything, or shift your ideas about how you want to operate going forward?
MW: In order to stay in touch, we all increased our virtual presence and learned how to be creative in the digital space. I don’t think that momentum will decrease.
SG: Yes, we immediately went to virtual exhibitions and increased our online presence. We had to totally hit the reset button. This was good and opened opportunities for us around the country.
Are there any shows coming up in your space that you’re particularly excited about this Fall?
MW: María Korol has recently joined the gallery and her solo exhibition will be the first with a gallery, and our first solo exhibition in the new space. María is from Argentina, is a visiting professor of art at Morehouse and was the 2020 recipient of the Edge Award by the Forward Arts Foundation, Atlanta. In the adjacent exhibition room there will be a group show conceived of and curated by Andrea Clark (who is one of the artists in the show) during the pandemic when we were closed and presented was first presented as on online Viewing Room exhibition. It’s thrilling to present it now in person – Between Object and Image IRL – presents five women artists. Andrea Clark, curator and artist is Atlanta based.
MK: Our program through 2022 will focus on Realism, Social Realism, Outsider Art, Sculpture and Abstraction
SG: We will be opening with a solo show by Antonio Carreno, a highly celebrated abstract painter who honors the traditions of surrealism in Latin art histories. He studied at the National School of Fine Arts in Santo Domingo, his native home. He also practiced his craft at the Arts Students League in New York City. Carreno describes his work as full of lyricism, spirituality, playfulness, and expressiveness.