SOIL Gallery

Address: 112 3rd Ave. South, Seattle WA 98104
Contact: Ellen Ziegler
Open Hours: ThursdaySunday, 12 – 5 pm.


How is the project operated?
Artist-run, non-profit.

How long has it been in existence?
Since 1995; 20 years.

What was your motivation?
SOIL exists as an experimental venue for artists and curators to exhibit, develop, and advance innovative art of diverse media and content.

Number of organizers/responsible persons of the project.
We have about 20 – 24 members at any one time.

How are programs funded?
Members pay monthly dues; our largest fundraising effort is a yearly auction. We receive small grants as well.

Who is responsible for the programming?
Member artists are responsible for programming; shows are selected by a 2/3 vote of members present.

Number and average duration of exhibitions/events per year.
12 monthly exhibitions/year. Each month is typically a curated exhibit in the front of the gallery space with a member’s solo show in the back of the space. The cooperative has been in existence for twenty years and has been consistent in showing a different exhibition each month that opens on every first Thursday.

What kind of events are usually organized?
Our events include a First Thursday opening, gallery talks by artists, an auction/party once a year, outreach events to bring new people to the gallery.

How is your programming determined? Do you accept proposals/submissions?
We have a call for submissions about every 12 months; this is how we program the gallery. We accept submissions for shows of two artists or more; solo shows are not considered. All proposals are viewed by the membership and accepted or declined on a 2/3 vote.

What is your artistic/curatorial approach?
We have shown painting, drawing, sculpture, light based work, wax art, chocolate art, plaster art, interactive art, gerbil art, new media, sculptural installations, sound installations, experiential installations and video. We have also hosted poetry readings, performances, musical events, and other unclassified art… In other words, SOIL will show almost anything, provided it is accepted by the membership.

What’s working?
SOIL is run as a cooperative, and it seems to be working very well. We have received substantial local as well as national press attention. Some of our members have been with the gallery for 15 years. A culture of listening to each other, mutual support, a distinct lack of competition among members, and above all, our mission to bring interesting work from all over the world to Seattle, has sustained SOIL as an ongoing successful gallery.

What will be working better: outreach to artists in Seattle’s communities of color to propose exhibits and to join the gallery as members. Diversity is a high priority in our immediate future.
What kind of role do you hope to play in your local art scene or community?
SOIL exists as an alternative venue for artists to exhibit, develop, and advance their work, and is committed to exhibiting and celebrating art of diverse media and content.
What idea are you most excited about for the future?
We are planning a show in 2017 with the Bellevue Arts Museum, showcasing SOIL Gallery through its 20-year history — a retrospective of the gallery and a recalibration of plans for our future. We will also be participating in Satellite Miami this December with other artist-run organizations from around the country and beyond, strengthening and expanding our mission. Our outreach for diversity will continue to invigorate us as a community.
Images courtesy of SOIL Gallery.

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