Leading up to Making a Scene: 50 Years of Alternative Spaces, a visual art exhibition with accompanying events that spotlights a rich history of Bay Area artist-run, independent and alternative spaces, intern Michael Fontana talked with founder Joyce Gordon about the Joyce Gordon Gallery, its role and identity as a local alternative art space, and the relevance of alternative art spaces to the Bay Area.
[Michael Fontana] What circumstances lead to the founding of the Joyce Gordon Gallery?
[Joyce Gordon] The circumstances that lead me to opening Joyce Gordon evolved from my growing up in Berkeley around a lot of artists and attending art school myself. I thought the art world was a good match for me, I wanted to be a part of that world so I opened the gallery with great appreciation for the artists’ commitment and passion.
[MF] Given Joyce Gordon’s commitment to being a cultural catalyst as well as an exhibition space, how does Joyce Gordon enrich the local art scene and community?
[JG] Through art we began to understand and appreciate others more because each artist has a story to tell. From there some questions provoke conversation and from conversation understanding. So from there you began to build a community in which there is more understanding, appreciation and respect. Joyce Gordon Gallery is located in the community where all people are welcome regardless of race, ethnicity or income. Students from across the city come for art or history assignments, many non-profit orgs who work with youth utilize the space for events as well as workshops, while at the same time giving exposure to many mid-career artists and exposing the community to renowned artists.
[MF] What do you see as the value of alternative spaces in the Bay Area art world?
[JG] There is great value in alternative space, especially for artists of color, because there are not enough galleries owned by people of color, and other galleries are not so open to showing their work for one reason or another. The alternative spaces provide an opportunity for exposure for those artists and are very important.
The exhibition: Making a Scene: 50 Years of Alternative Spaces is on view from July 9th – August 20th, 2015.
About the Author:
Michael Fontana is a Communications Intern for SOMArts Cultural Center and a undergraduate student at Oberlin College.
Photo Credit Laura A. Oda/Bay Area News Group