Public art: whether a source of delight or derision, it is undeniably democratic. Beyond the…
An artistic streak has run strongly through Kacy Grainger since childhood. But she always assumed opening her own gallery was a far-off dream.
Reality is now a purpose-built eponymous gallery that displays both her own work and a revolving calendar of artists from around Australia and internationally.
It is more than Kacy could have hoped for.
“Around two years ago, Molonglo Group showed us the empty warehouse at Dairy Road, not long after Capital Brewing had opened. I saw the site and knew immediately that was where we were going to have our gallery. We didn’t know how we were going to do it, but we decided that no matter what, we would somehow make it happen,” she said.
“One of our Sydney artists who spends a bit of time in the US, came and visited the precinct when the gallery was under construction had commented that the vibe of Dairy Road was a lot like Brooklyn when artists started to move in there. But it’s also uniquely Canberran. The vision for the precinct is great and it’s good to be here at the beginning of its growth.”
The Gallery, which officially opened its doors in November, represents around 35 artists and will expand it over time.
“Being an artist myself, my philosophy for the gallery is to be artist led,” Kacy said.
“We are nothing without our artists, so to make sure we are serving their best interests is first and foremost. It’s been really exciting to build up a strong stable of artists, and a lot of them women. It wasn’t something I deliberately set out to do, but I am proud of a strong female representation.”
The stable of artists includes Chen Ping who has represented Australia at the Venice Biennale multiple times, Gria Shead, Vanessa Stockard and Leila Jeffries, among others.
The first solo show for 2021 will be launched next month featuring Hamburg-based abstract painter Stefan Heyer.
“It is no small feat to bring artworks from across the globe and curate a show, however I have loved his work for some time and I was determined to do just that.”
Kacy said it was a huge leap to move from being an artist to a gallerist but said the timing seems to have been fortuitous – even in a pandemic.
“In terms of commercial galleries in Canberra, there aren’t many left, and even fewer focusing on national or international artists. We are really happy to have our Canberra artists on board and excited to go on a journey with some of our emerging artists. I have been ambitious in wanting a space and stable of artists that feels world class. And I think we’ve managed to do that.”
The launch of the gallery was an immediate success with “lots of red dots on the walls”, and public reaction has been hugely positive.
“It’s an amazing feeling when someone connects with an artwork and wants to take it home. This is probably the most incredible part about being a Gallerist. As cliched as it is, art really does make a house a home!”
Kacy noted that the past year has been really tough on many people and creating and experiencing art “reminds us that we are not alone”.
“Through art we experience life together and are able to process events and emotions and find human connection. Most of us need beautiful things in our lives and that can come in many vast and varied ways. Architecture, music, film, painting. Now more than ever we need the arts.”
Kacy has plans for artist in residence programs with a view to exhibiting at the completion of time spent in our Mezzanine Atelier studio. This will provide a much-needed new space for local emerging artists to show. The space will also host workshops by visiting artists and weekly life drawing sessions.
The space also boasts a small framing studio which will also enable framing for the artists, gallery and for the public.
What: Grainger Gallery
Where: Building 3, I Dairy Road, Fyshwick
When: Thursday to Sunday 11 am-5 pm