Art Space Portsmouth & aspex: Collaboration & Co-operation
Above: Art Space Portsmouth’s home (and aspex‘s birthplace!)
Yesterday, Jonathan (our Artists Advisor) and myself went for a meeting at Art Space Portsmouth with Natalie, Jeannie and Jan. If you didn’t know, our two organisations have a shared heritage - aspex (formed from “Art Space Exhibitions”) was founded by Art Space artists within the large first floor project space at their Brougham Road site in 1981. We went on to became an independent fully funded gallery in 1990 and moved onto our new site in Gunwharf Quays in 2006. After we moved, Art Space launched a new project space called GASP - Gallery Art Space Portsmouth at Brougham Road.
Following the success of the our current exhibition by John Mynott (who is based at Art Space) both organisations felt it would be good to meet and discuss how we can go forward. At the John Mynott preview we discovered that there had almost been a clash with one planned at Art Space, and there were other issues where Art Space members felt that we had not considered some of the projects they are undertaking before we had forged ahead on a number of our own. We had a full & frank discussion about this, and our key conclusion was that a lack of communication, both on an organisational and strategic level, was the crucial issue. If we can find better ways to share information, clashes can be avoided and our activities can complement, not distract, from each other.
In the immediate future we are working on a joint event here at aspex at the end of the November where John Mynott’s work will be discussed (more details to follow soon!). We have also agreed to carry each other’s events on out newsletters and share events information electronically. There is also great potential for more collaboration on exhibitions and participation in future, where both organisations can still express their own unique identity but also recognise that our roots and that our aims are the same – to increase engagement with contemporary visual art and how it is made in Portsmouth and the wider region. In short, we are all better off together than apart. I’m really looking forward to seeing what opportunities arise!