Featured Gallery: Kaleidoscope

FK talks to the lovely Lauren from Kaleidoscope Gallery, which has just relocated it’s home to the Danks Street precinct, Waterloo.

Tell us a bit about Kaleidoscope Gallery and about your recent move to Danks Street?
We are a independently run art gallery now based in the well known art precinct of Danks Street Waterloo. We feel so excited to not only be on this wonderful street but to house the gallery in what was once the David Bromley Arcade is even better! The space is beautiful and just what we had in mind when we first starting thinking about making the move.

We started in October 2009 and the idea behind the gallery was to promote our artists and emerging art in general by making it accessible and affordable.  From an artists perspective we wanted to create a space that was artist run, that was flexible and and nurturing but one that presented like a commercial space.  We do everything that a commercial space does, in terms of professionalism but without the restrictive contracts and the 60% commission. We also wanted to help the budding at collector to be able to start or continue their collection with beautiful and quality pieces by professional and committed artists without the hefty price tag that some other galleries charge. We are all about showing great work and getting it out there into the world!

Who is behind Kaleidoscope, what are your backgrounds and what was the motivation to starting the space?
We have small team of artists that run the gallery. We know what it is like to be an emerging artist in Sydney. I started the gallery after working in commercially run spaces and ARIs (Artist Run Initiatives) and showing my work in student and artist run galleries. I realised that there was nothing really in the middle, no where for an artist to show in between the do it yourself gallery and the giant leap to commercial representation. I wanted to create a space that was professional and slick but that was approachable and relaxed. No stuffy people here, we greet people with a smile and have fun. We love what we do!

The rest of the team consists of Kathryn who is our assistant director/curator who is from the UK. She brings a vast knowledge of painting and drawing and has a keen eye for detail. Lauren elise is our partnership coordinator, specialising in PR and is a photographic genius. Som is our print making expert who looks after administration and Kate knows all there is to know about philosophy and video art. She is also our newest recruit and were are super lucky to have Kate on board.

What was your experience like in your Paddington home, what were some of the challenges to running Kaleidoscope?
Paddington was a wonderful place to launch the gallery. We loved there, the space really lent itself to the ethos of the gallery and the fact that we always wanted Kaleidoscope Gallery to be a welcoming and comfortable gallery to visit. We aren’t the sterile, white cube type. Our objective is to reach as many people with our art as possible and feel that if you create a space that is homely and cosy that people will respond to it, and they did. Since we have moved to Waterloo we have been able to achieve the same thing, and there are little things that are similar to our Paddington space for example instead of the blue and white painted floorboards we have blue and white painted tiles! But there are little quirks about the space that make it unique to Kaleidoscope.

There have been a few challenges along the way as you would expect from any new venture but they have all been worth it, usual bumps in the road leading to a long and enjoyable journey. Its a small industry in Australia and there have been galleries that have been in the business for a very long time. And successfully too, they are definitely doing something right! So its tough to break into an industry as the new kids, but we have been lucky enough to have had a lot of support along the way and have forged some very strong friendships. Especially as we are trying to create something that is a little out of the ordinary, a little left field. We also have some amazing sponsors that have believed in us from early on such as our delicious wine sponsor Rosnay. Cant have a gallery without yummy wine!! But so far as challenges go, we are really fortunate to be constantly learning and evolving and we always listen and take on board what our clients and artist have to say. Just to ensure that Kaleidoscope remains a gallery that is moving forward not standing still.

What new things can we expect to discover in the new space?
The new space just beautiful! Its a big long space that is perfect for exhibitions. And we have some incredible artists lined up for the remainder of the year.  Including our first ever scultpure exhibition. Paddington spacially didn’t really allow for scultpture and I have been wanting to show the work buy the amazing glass artist Mark Wotherspoon for some time.  So hurrah! Stay tuned for his show at the end of July. Also many of the events that we held in the Paddington space will continue in the new space, bigger and better than before. For example our life drawing classes will start up again and this time we will conclude the 6 week term with an exhibition. Our design markets will start again as well which we are hoping to hold this year in spring. We are also launching Wine/Arts/ideas/Film (WAIF nights) – or something like that we are still working in the, where people can come and enjoy our exhibitions and talks with our artists, and thinkers with a glass of wine, and some yummy pastry, often with great music! And I cant forget to mention our wonderful permanent collection which we are really excited about; a collection of printmakers, photographers and jewellers that will permanently be in the space on a slow rotation. There is so much going on!

What make Kaleidoscope unique as a space, and what is your creative mission?
As I mentioned before, we are trying to create a space that is welcoming, ever changing and a something different to your usual gallery space. We have a quick rotation of shows, every 2 weeks and we have events all the time so that there should be something different and fresh everytime you visit. And our mission is just that, to create a gallery that is an ever changing space of colour and light.

What plans do you have for the new space?
The sky is the limit! Everyone on the team has their own projects that we are working on, but one of the biggest plans for the space is a new arm of the gallery that we are launching later in the year called ArtScope… Our very own arts rental company. Just another way that we can get our artists work out there. This is still in the planning stages and we are coordinating our first crop of artists for the project, but safe to say its rental like you have never seen before!

If an artist or designer wants to be involved with Kaleidoscope, what is the process for submissions?
If an artist wants to be involved in an exhibition the process we ask them to take is to fill in a proposal form from our website. We do get a lot of artists walking in and asking us about the way we work. We also get a lot of emails just of enquiry especially from our social media networks such as Facebook. Once they submit a proposal we like to have a look at their work. Talk to them about when they would like to exhibition and then lock it in to beginning the organizing!

Gallery details
The current opening exhibition is entitled ‘my my’ and has 17 fantastic artists and is all about the celebration of colour and light! Very eccentric and OTT.
The exhibition runs until the 30th of June 2011.

3-7 Danks Street, Waterloo NSW 2017

Monday – closed
Tuesday – Friday 10am – 6pm
Saturday 10am – 5pm
Sunday 11am – 4pm


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