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When we first inaugurated our annual membership scheme eight years ago we were unsure how to square the needs of the members with what we could realistically offer. We did not want an all-out ‘give us your money and we’ll pretend you have anything more than a slim chance of being in a group show’… We wanted to put the emphasis as ever on dialogue – getting to know the members and specifically their work. Altogether a much harder task.
Seven years ago we bit the bullet and decided that by restricting the number of members we can more honestly share our time with them and make a more genuine selection of work for a ‘Members’ Show’. Together with studio visits and mentoring sessions and members’ crits and evenings here in the gallery. Members are invited to submit work for a 4-week group show (3 jpegs no bigger than 1 Mb each please). Over the last couple of years because of the increasingly high standards of our membership we have held two members’ shows, one in the new year, the other in Summer. Membership does not guarantee a place in the Members’ shows, but it is a way of starting the dialogue.
In effect there are three types of member -
1 – the de facto membership of artists we have worked extensively with before the opening of the scheme – who we would not be expecting to submit work for the ‘Members’ Show’
2 the members who simply want to support us by their donation – ditto
3 – You! The Members who we hope to build a relationship with and from whom the ‘Members’ Shows’ are selected.
This is the most important thing for us – the membership scheme provides us with a means of finding new artists – artists who would not necessarily cross our path in the usual round of openings and degree shows but who we know have work that’s well worth seeing.
Further background information
Our regular gallery statement starts: ‘we began studio1.1 with no particular battle-plan’ – we meant that as a fairly innocent metaphor. Now we’re not so sure. It’s not even that times are difficult now – they always are. For an independent, unfunded, not-for-profit and backer-free space particularly so. But we don’t give up, and we’ve spent thirteen years now running the gallery in the way that we feel a gallery should be run: for the benefit of the artists. Our main aim has always been to provide a supportive environment for artists to take risks.
There’s no particular model for this structure, in between the commercial, market-enslaved template and the once-current desideratum of ‘artist-run-space’. But through practice and hard-won experience we have evolved a model that’s our own: not commercial manque, and primarily artist-responsive rather than just artist-run. At the two extremes of our activity we have a central large core of artists that we exhibit and support, and every week we receive emails from strangers, all of which we acknowledge and certain of which we answer specifically, although necessarily briefly.
The exhibitions that we hold, and the artists that we regularly display, are crucial. They, though in a different way from us are the public face of the gallery, and constitute the most important part of our identity.
We want emails to become faces, offering at least some measure of personal contact and advice to as wide a group of artists as our time, enthusiasm and energy permit. To do this we have decided to formalise our hitherto very open structure, to create, if we can, an identifiable network out of an amorphous pool of well-wishers.
We would like to invite anyone who wishes to become part of this network to join the membership scheme outlined here. With this we can offer artists the opportunity to present to us their work in individual surgeries and everyone the chance to support our project.
The mentoring surgeries will be held here in the gallery by the two of us, together with a rota of the artists we regularly work with as well as invited outside contributors. We shall also hold a series of members’ evenings: networking opportunities, that is, by a more participant-friendly name.
While maintaining our identity as an exhibiting gallery, we would like to reach out not just to visual artists of all kinds, but to writers and to anyone, in fact, who shares our serious interest in new art (produced by artists of any age).
This will also help safeguard the future of studio1.1.
We want the membership structure to be as democratic and accessible as possible. To this end we are not proposing the usual scheme graded by levels of contribution – it is the will to support us that counts. We are offering a Membership scheme (open to anyone of course) for £30 per annum – though obviously any sums above this are gratefully received. All members have equal access to our mentoring surgeries etc. And in supporting us we hope we can support you by also offering all members a10% discount on all sales of work.
(We are not currently planning a list of members on our website until we have ascertained that this is the wish of the majority of contributors.)
We truly appreciate your continued interest.
You have the right to cancel within seven days of purchase, or seven days of receipt of the goods (whichever is the longer). If you cancel your order, you will have your payment returned. Any postage incurred in returning the purchase will also be refunded.
57a Redchurch Street, E2 7DJ
company registration certificate no. 8093649