Gasworks Gallery Open Studios

I visited Gasworks Gallery open studios last night to see how it was, and who was there, and what they were doing. The good news is that there were LOTS of people visiting, touring and chatting with artists. LOTS of people. It was a crush, which is good even if it’s not comfortable. OK it was hot and crowded and I didn’t know anyone there, but met some real nice people for a brief moment anyhow. One young pair of creatives, an oil painter and a writer, had some colorful and intriguing work going on in their tiny (5×8?) studio. I hope the ventilation system is good!

The physical space of Gasworks Gallery studios is interesting — like a rabbit warren with stairs. The upstairs is accessible only in sections by staircases off the central hall on the main floor up to the next level. You might be able to see the adjacent section, but would have to descend the stairs and travel the hall to ascend the next staircase. Interesting building choices. The basement is only accessible from outside the building on the lake side. There are spaces for rent. Standard studio spaces range from $150 to $495 and are month-to-month, which I’m sure is meant to attract artists — as this is quite reasonable for studio space. I didn’t see any plumbing upstairs, though it may be that it was there. The place was dressed for the tour, with the ugly stuff all covered over.

Another artist, in the basement, was in the process of selling a piece when we entered. The buyer had discovered what the artist valued — a good home for the art, and someone who REALLY resonated with it. The buyer made an offer and got a bargain for sure. It was a good piece. This was one of those moments that both hurt me and gave me hope. There is art selling in Seattle, and good art is being made. On the one hand, did the buyer take advantage of the artist’s emotions about wanting to make sure that her art found a good home? As we entered her room, she was saying how meaningful art can be, how it speaks to someone and when someone makes a connection to it, they are meant to be together, art and owner. The buyer seemed to love it, and then I heard, “Will you take (x amount?) for it?” By that time the artist had painted herself into a corner (sorry for the pun) and seemed to feel that she had no choice but to accept the buyer’s offer.  She took a breath and said yes, and seemed glad that it sold to the buyer. Happy buyer, happy artist. All’s well that ends well. This made me uncomfortable, as I’ve been in the same position.

The problem is if I have other collectors that paid more, and found that I took less for a later, similarly made piece, that might make them feel that I did not deal with them fairly. It does bring up a question for sure.

Of course none of this will matter once the artist dies….

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