Snails: Artist Run Space is a unique one, an ‘all-sorts’ collection of eclectic, cutting edge, avant grad and grunge. We talk to Kirsty Porter, one of three creatives behind the gallery and workshop, to discover what makes it tick.
So for those not in the know, what makes these guys so interesting? In a sentence – its their model. It’s right there in as the name says – artist run. The Snails space enables freedom for artists, with them able to display and sell their work in a central city location at a low cost. “We exist outside of money really,” says Kirsty. With two unique locations in the urban heart of the city, the cheap rent is covered by Kirsty and her two cohorts Sarah Bingle and Miriam De Oude, giving the liberty to do with the spaces whatever they wish. Just like any true artist, costs are kept to the smell of an oily rag so that they can keep the fabulous galleries up and going long-term for all walks of life. “We aren’t like a commercial gallery,” explains Kirsty. “No commission is paid out of the sales of the artist’s works, they just cover the power bill for their time in the space and they can sell as much art as they want. When we have exhibitions, we get the artist to take on the responsibility – the hanging, sitting and sales etc.”
The fun doesn’t just stop at visual art though – not only are the galleries fantastic for the community’s artists, but also musicians. At the Taonui Street workspace they have hosted bands from Palmerston North, Wellington and even Australia, playing gigs, bringing artists, enthusiasts and creatives alike together in a shared space.
For anyone who wondered, we asked the question many think – why the name Snails? Kirsty confesses the truth: “I’m a gardener, I kill snails all the time.”
“So it’s kind of my ‘I’m sorry guys – in honour of killing you all the time, I’m honouring you by naming a gallery after you.”
If you are interested in going to have a look at these gorgeous spaces, go for a stroll and head down to 88 George Street, or the corner of Taonui and Cuba Streets. Every month they have a new artist in residence showcasing new art, bringing a revolving scene of colour and talents to the coffee and arts quadrant of the city.