Gallery offers a glimpse of art's future in Rochester
When Gallery 24 holds its grand opening in downtown Rochester on Friday, it will be a display not only of sculpture, paintings and other artwork but a glimpse into a possible arts future.
Gallery 24 won't be housed at the former Creative Salon for long. The lease with the building's owner, Helen Roland, is up in six to eight months.
But founder Cassandra Buck and other Gallery 24 artists hope to use their time there to offer a prototype and vision of what the visual arts could look like in Rochester. The opening runs from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Gallery 24 is located at 324 First Ave. SW.
The grand opening, called "I Should Have Been Home Yesterday," will display an exhibit area, studio space for artists and a retail area, a combination that doesn't exist anywhere in Rochester, artists say.
Buck sees it as place where professional artists can converse and collaborate and where public art classes can be held. The group hopes its vision of the future boosts a $10,000 GoFundMe online campaign. So far it has raised $2,800. It continues to search for a location that could serve as this prototypical gallery.
"We have niches here and there, but we don't have it all-encompassing," Buck said.
Its short-lived residence in the former Creative Salon, or C4, can make it easy to confuse the Salon and Gallery 24. Many still think of it as the Salon. But Buck emphasized that Gallery 24 is a totally distinct entity.
The Salon closed its doors in fall 2015, reportedly to make way for the development of an office building. But a delay in construction created an opportunity for Gallery 24 to use it temporarily. Gallery 24 was founded in 2015.
To help make clear its separateness from the salon, artists painted over a mural that was on the south wall of the building during its salon days. Buck called that a "full circle" moment for her because she had helped create 80 percent of it.
While C4's primary focus was to foster emerging artists, Gallery 24 has a broader scope: to promote professional development and make "ourselves better artists," Buck said.
"I think it's important for people of Rochester to realize that we're capable of this," she said. "You don't need to go to St. Paul or Minneapolis to take in culture and art. There's stuff here."
Yet Buck credits C4 for helping her discover her own "artistic voice." As a Rochester native, Buck said, C4 helped her realize she wasn't alone, and there were other people "like me that were making art."
Area artists involved in Gallery 24 include Heather Jerdee, Amarama, Beth Sievers and Chad Allen. Some, such as Buck, were active in the Creative Salon. Others also are members of Southeastern Minnesota Visual Artists.
To get the gallery ready for its opening, artists have been doing everything from hanging paintings and painting walls to building tables and fixing toilets. The opening also will feature the unveiling of a mystery installation in the middle of the exhibit space. There will be kids activities and a meet-and-greet of Gallery 24 artists.