Pop up gallery, Art in Transit, opened in August 2019 in the main street of Port Douglas, North Queensland.
Showcasing the work of a variety of local artists, the gallery was enthusiastically endorsed by local residents and visitors alike.
The brainchild of artist, Chrissie McLaughlin, this pop up gallery displayed the work of a dozen or so painters, potters, print makers and textile artists.
Visitors told us that they were thrilled to find artwork created by locals. In a town where the vast majority of products for sale have been manufactured overseas (usually in China or India) this sentiment is understandable.
It has always seemed to me that visitors to a particular region in the world will be looking to buy genuine products developed and made there. So to visit a 'tourist' town like Port Douglas it must be very disappointing to find the 'same old' mass produced clothes and gifts that can be found in most areas of the world.
In a country where, all too often, The Arts are subsidised quite heavily by government, it is refreshing to find a group which is self-sufficient (although, at times that might seem a struggle!).
For a 'normal' art gallery, as with any retail business, there's rent to pay, electricity, insurance, advertising, cleaning - and sales staff, to name a few unavoidable large expenses. Usually artists expect to pay commissions on sales - and that's all, although that arrangement is beginning to change.
In the case of Art in Transit, participating artists contribute to these expenses.
The nature of 'pop-ups' means that they are temporary and tenants may be asked to vacate premises if they are leased to another business for a specific period.
So owners will usually rent their premises at a reduced rate to take this insecurity into consideration. This is the only way that Art in Transit could operate, although they are hoping for support from local businesses and government in 2020 and 2021.
Artists come and go, with a queue waiting to be considered. Here is the work of some long term participants:
About a dozen artists have been with the group from its inception, with some joining for shorter periods, month by month.
Yes, you guessed it.
After four months, having made the space very attractive, we were replaced by a commercial interest!
The tourist 'quiet' season was approaching, with its monsoon rains and reduced numbers of visitors, so it was decided that we would have a 'break' until another, suitable, shop became available, perhaps around Easter.
Oh, no! Along came Covid 19 and empty shops and streets. Borders are closed and, sadly, visitors are not welcome just now.
Not as satisfactory,I know, but you could visit the Art in Transit website.
Enjoy browsing or make a purchase. Artists will thank you!
Art In Transit Gallery is aptly named, we think. For many years the artists of this region have been working towards a state-of-the-art Arts Centre of which we could all be proud.
The centre would include studios for two and three dimensional visual art as well as music, exhibition and sales spaces and be located in the Cultural Centre of the town, across from the Clink Theatre and the Neighborhood Centre in Mowbray Street.
Any number of programmes, such as Artists in Residence, international exchanges, connections with interstate tertiary institutions and a variety of workshops could develop.
Please help us to grow support for this ambition by fostering the Arts in our region in any way that you can.
Here's another little project with which you may like to become involved - good fun, I promise!