The Hinge[uds-billboard name=”hinge”]
Address: 410 N. Newstead, Saint Louis, MO 63108
Email: Eileen@thehingestl.com, Lauren@thehingestl.com, Bryan@thehingestl.com
Phone: (314) 535-3010
Open Hours: By appointment
How is the project operated?
The Hinge is currently a nonprofit experiment of the highest order; we have the goal of attaining 501c3 status in the future. All operations have been run by co-founders Lauren Pressler, Eileen G’Sell, and Bryan Laughlin.
How long has it been in existence?
The apartment gallery and event space itself was launched in August of 2012, but conceptually The Hinge has been in existence since the winter preceding.
What was your motivation?
Recent decades have witnessed a spate of commercial and cultural growth throughout St. Louis city, but elisions persist, especially those that embrace the fine arts in a vibrant, cross-disciplinary manner. The Hinge acts as both cultural crossroad and nexus of distinguished artistic and literary pursuits. In essence, we encompass the arts broadly–bringing together the visual with the tactile, literary, and auditory. We reject traditional boundaries between the decorative and avant-garde. We embrace the edgy, beautiful, alarming, and true, the very, very old and the very, very new.
Number of organizers/responsible persons of the project.
Lauren Pressler, Eileen G’Sell, Bryan Laughlin
How are programs funded?
All programs and operational costs have been funded via the personal investments of Hinge co-founders.
Who is responsible for the programming?
Eileen G’Sell: Co-founder / Director, Lauren Pressler: Co-founder / Curator, Bryan Laughlin: Co-founder / Curator.
Led by director Eileen G’Sell, we collaborate on different elements that culminate in the distinctive “Hinge” environ and exhibition experience. G’Sell directs the gallery and curates the Hinge Reading Series, Pressler takes on a largely visual curatorial role, and Laughlin restores and selects the fine art furniture that inhabits the space for each respective
Number and average duration of exhibitions/events per year.
Typically, one visual art exhibition every three months, with Hinge Reading Series events commencing on a monthly basis.
What kind of events are usually organized?
Visual art exhibitions and literary readings dominate the schedule. On occasion, less formal events are hosted such as beer tastings and writer/artist parties.
How is your programming determined?
The space is flexible to the exigencies of current events, teaming contemporary artistic expression with the decorative in an organic, responsive matter, according to the availabilities of Hinge co-founders and community interest/need.
Do you accept proposals/submissions?
The Hinge currently accepts submissions via Facebook on a rolling basis. We are also open to proposals, as indeed our last exhibition–Flora, Phallus, Fauna: The Polish Poster Art of Ryszard Kaja–originated in a proposal from art enthusiast Chris Smentkowski.
What is your artistic/curatorial approach?
The Hinge challenges and toys with traditional tensions between creative disciplines, high and low taste proclivities, the decorative and abstract, the domestic and the public sphere.
Embracing the possibility in contradiction, we create a minimally opulent space in which objects, art, and people communicate with each other in a rigorous yet insistently playful manner.
What’s working? What’s not working?
Opening submissions to the public has introduced us to talented figures such as emerging artist Cheri Hoffman, while relying too heavily on submissions from personal friends can occasionally lead to an atmosphere too informal to meet our high expectations. Collaborating with local curators and musicians has also enabled a more variegated Hinge experience with each event.
What kind of role do you hope to play in your local art scene or community?
We seek to serve as an epicenter of communal idea sharing, material exchange, and the art / object experience. We seek to bridge the gap between artist and patron, poet and painter, well-heeled banker and tattooed sculptor. We seek to be rigorous while rejecting the sterile, white-box gallery template.
We are an alternative to the institutional, the highly commercial, to instead offer an intimate salon-style experience–a gallery “speakeasy” of a sort (though the booze be legal).
What idea are you most excited about for the future?
In the long term, the potential for The Hinge to serve as a virtual and real-world vehicle for creative luminaries both emerging and established, whether this means expanding beyond the St. Louis region, or collaborating with other arts organizations to broaden our audience.
In the short term, we hope to launch a show that champions the artistic oeuvres of locally/nationally distinguished figures such as Hillis Arnold, while continuing to integrate the historic and the contemporary.