Forces unite to make art gallery visits easier

ARTISTS CONNECT: Ahn Wells (left) with Coco, Barb Nanshe, Jo Chisholm-Ray, Christina Frogley, Nadia Aurische and Colin Lawson from a collection of small Newcastle-based galleries.

ARTISTS CONNECT: Ahn Wells (left) with Coco, Barb Nanshe, Jo Chisholm-Ray, Christina Frogley, Nadia Aurische and Colin Lawson from a collection of small Newcastle-based galleries.

LIFE has just become a lot easier for Newcastle art lovers with the establishment of Independent Galleries Newcastle.

The organisation plans to use online and social media to connect people with what is showing in Newcastle’s smaller galleries.  

“I thought it was about time that there was one place people should be able to go to when they want to find out what is happening at the smaller galleries around the Newcastle area,” Ahn Wells, the creator of the organisation said. 

“It’s for the general public and visitors, not just the art community who already know about these gallery spaces.”

“It’s also for new artists and students to find out about these galleries and how they can apply to exhibit there and be a part of the community.”

There are eight member galleries involved and all are artist or community run, including ASW, Back to Back, CStudios Art Gallery, Gallery 61 Revisited, Nanshe Studio Gallery, Newcastle Art Space and Timeless Textiles. 

The website also has reviews and links to art classes in the Newcastle area.

Ahn said she thought she was the right person to start the organisation because of her long history in the Newcastle art scene.

She studied art at Hunter Street TAFE; then undertook a degree in visual arts at the University of Newcastle, and is a practising artist who has worked in photography, textiles and painting. 

Wells own Gallery 139 opened in February 2015. She has curated about 15 shows since and said there were many challenges for small gallery operators. 

“For me one of the challenges is presenting top quality art that I like and keeping the rent paid,” she said.

“It’s harder than I realised, but I don’t want to just exhibit art that might sell easier.”

What’s on in art

Cstudios Art Gallery: The Gift of Nature by Ros Elkin, until March 27.

Nanshe Studio Gallery:  Rodney Cones-Browne, until April 2. 

Timeless Textiles: That's my baby by Rieteka Geursen until March 13, and The art of Imperfection by Eira Chidgey until March 12. 

Gallery Sixty One Revisited: Sugar Jar , until March 17. 

Gallery 139: The Bounds of Photography until March 12, followed by Elegant Blooms from March 16 until April 2. 

Art Systems Wickham:  Beach to Barrington by Mark Kempton and Bridget Whitehead until March 12, followed by Waterworks by Peter Read until March 20. 

Website: independentgalleriesnewcastle.com.