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This summer a new type of art gallery opened in Kingsbridge. Overlooking the estuary, the Tidal Gallery is appropriately named and has three principles at its core: ethics, local artists and quality. Founder Anna Ventura explains…
What was the premise behind the Tidal Gallery?
I wanted to set up a gallery with a clear environmental ethos. So we don’t buy any plastic and we don’t work with the middle men; we work with artists directly so they get the most out of their sales. The result is that everything is very affordable to customers as well but there’s no loss on quality. We work with amazing artists and the space really represents them and their work.
What kind of artwork do you show?
There’s a variety but it’s all contemporary and We try to be a bit alternative to what’s available at other places in the area. There’s a bit of everything, from mixed media to oils, ceramics and jewellery. We work with the most wonderful silversmiths - one is very modern and one is very traditional. The latter does the casting herself, which is quite unusual, and she’s very popular. We also have a ceramicist who does ceramic jewellery.
What makes the Tidal Gallery different to other South Hams galleries?
There’s so much choice in the area and what we have really wanted to show is quality. Most of the people we work with are qualified artists or have had a long career where they have developed the practice to a high standard. As I have a background in art myself, I have a real feel for that quality, not just the processes that artists use, but how work is finished as well, so customers know they are getting a high quality piece. Central to the gallery’s purpose is also that everything is local. Not just sold locally but made here as well. I think it’s so important to spend in the community because that way it stays in the community, so the origin of the work is really important to us. It strengthens the community to have quality, locally made products.
Which particular artists do you host at the moment?
One of the favourites is Shirley Kirkcaldy. She does these beautiful, expressive landscapes that are very popular. We also have a couple of artists that are members of the Devon Guild.
What can visitors look forward to in the lead up to Christmas?
We are taking on five new artists for Christmas. Two of them do jewellery; one does spectacular glass pieces and the other works in pewter. They’re producing items that sell for £50 or less.
There are also decorations that are handmade and unique but won’t break the bank. They’re a little more than you would pay in a regular store, but you know they’re made by a local artist.
Do you have any particular plans for 2019?
We are actually putting plans in motion to host some masterclasses. A lot of our artists are very talented and we have a studio here, which is the perfect space for lessons in particular topics. The idea is to offer short courses or day and evening classes that are easy to commit to - rather than the concept of needing to sign up for 10 classes or something. I know lots of people would like to learn techniques with local artists and I think it’s something that is needed in the area.
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