modernformations square

Modern Formations

[uds-billboard name=”modernformations”]

Modern Formations

Address: 4919 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15224
Phone: 412.362.0274
Open Hours: Thurs 7-9pm, Sat 1-4pm, or by appointment
How is the project operated?
For-profit…but the profits go right back into running the space/keeping it open. I don’t receive a paycheck for running the gallery.
How long has it been in existence?
Since June 2001
What was your motivation?
I worked at the Andy Warhol Museum as a gallery attendant.  Most of my co-workers were just out of college and needed exhibit experience, but had very few opportunities in Pittsburgh to gain that experience. I wanted to give them a space to help start these experiences and their professional portfolio.  I also wanted to break down barriers between the viewer and the art: whether those barriers are the ability to analyze and observe art, to learn about art, or to afford to own art. I wanted a space that would be comfortable and make art accessible to everyone, not just the wealthy and educated.
Number of organizers/responsible persons of the project:
Right now, just me (Jennifer Quinio)

How are programs funded?
The gallery is a performance space as well. People can rent it for poetry readings, film showings, plays…anything, really. Most of the funding comes from the rental fee for these events. But the fees that people pay to rent the space are low. I also wanted to have a space that was affordable.  For art, the gallery receives a 25% commission, with the artist receiving 75%. The rest of the funding comes from my pocket.

Who is responsible for the programming?
Me. Luckily I have many people that support what I do and they are willing to lend a hand when I need it.

Number and average duration of exhibitions/events per year:
The exhibits last on a month to month basis, for the most part. There are around 10 to 12 exhibitions per year. They open on the first Friday of the month. The gallery is located within a recently formed (circa 1998), and continuously growing, arts district within the city of Pittsburgh. The Penn Avenue Arts Initiative was created as a way to revitalize the Penn Avenue Corridor through the arts.The PAAI has an art walk every month called “Unblurred” that happens on the first Friday.

What kind of events are usually organized?
Poetry readings, band performances, dramatic performances, film screenings, comedy troupes have performed, lectures, community meetings.

How is your programming determined?
The artists must be local, or have some tie to Pittsburgh. As far as use of the space goes: if the gallery isn’t booked already it can be used for almost any kind of event…

Do you accept proposals/submissions?

What is your artistic/curatorial approach?
I work with the artist as far as curatorial duties go. I offer my advice, but I let them have most of the control. Some go for a traditional exhibit. Some transform the space to make it their own and it becomes an exhibition experience for the viewer.

What’s working? What’s not working?  
I’d like to say everything is working (but if it was working perfectly, I’d be getting a paycheck and I’d have health insurance through the gallery). That aside, I don’t want to raise rates. It still needs to be affordable for artists and patrons! I never went to school to learn how to run a gallery, or be a business owner. I went to school to be an artist and a teacher. I had a job making $6.45 an hour as a gallery attendant.  I had a choice to stay at that job or take a once in a lifetime opportunity to become a part of a new arts district. That part is what worked and still is!

What kind of role do you hope to play in your local art scene or community?
The gallery has been part of it’s community, Garfield, for 11 years. It’s held classes for kids living in the community, and opens it doors for anyone in the community willing to look at and learn about art for free. By having so many different kinds of events, the gallery brings in unique and diverse audiences that have never been to Garfield.  This gives them a reason to return to the community again and again.  I want to keep introducing the public to new and upcoming artists (any new artist or non-artist, young or old)

What idea are you most excited about for the future?
I didn’t think the gallery would be able to last as long as it has.  With the support of the community, the artists, and the audiences, I’m excited to see what kind of art and events will happen in the space during the next 11 years.

There are no comments

Add yours