The Gallery@57 | The Power of “YES” (ep7)

Episode 7 of Culture Matters

What is possible when a team of  artists running a community enterprise let “YES” be the dominant force in navigating challenges? Leaders from The Gallery@57, an artist-run community enterprise in Malden, talk about the impact of closing down during the COVID-19 pandemic. They share some of the key elements of their persistence and why they believe that YES, they will succeed!

The Gallery@57, an artist-led shop that sells high quality handmade products, was born of a resolve that artists and their work are vital to any community. As the entire world deals with Covid-19, the US addresses sytemic racism, and small businesses must find ways to stay afloat, how and why
The Gallery@57 succeeds is a good story for us all. That story began with a simple question and will continue with a persistent “YES.”

When an empty commercial space in the center of Malden, MA stimulated the imagination of one artist who asked, “what if that empty space could be an art gallery that showcases local artists’ work,” several artists answered with an 11-day popup holiday local artist marketplace known as Malden Pops Up. Excited by the success, Malden Pops Up returned the following year and became known as The Gallery, a long term popup gift shop, gallery, and cultural hub, lasting over one year.

When The Gallery concluded its term at the end of 2018, many people were saddened. But a few knew that the foundation of generosity, creativity, and power of community through arts would prevail and sustain a longer term, more permanent version of The Gallery. In July 2019, the opportunity became reality, as a lease was signed for the space at 57 Pleasant Street, right in the heart of the major transformation that Malden Center is undergoing. The Gallery @57 opened its doors on October 25, 2019, and launched its online shop on April 23, 2020.

After a successful holiday season and a quiet start of 2020 with many events and campaigns planned, The Gallery@57, like other non essential businesses all over, had to close to prevent spread of
COVID-19. Though the pandemic thwarted the momentum of startup and marketing, it spurred on an intense dive into the online world of retail. Resolved to pivot and figure out how to move online, The Gallery@57 opened their online shop in late April.

Michelle Trammel, Sandy Felder, Grace Julian Murthy, and Marcel Schwab, members of the leadership team, share what they’ve learned, what keeps them going and what they hope for. They give clues into what a successful group-led enterprise looks like and how it learns. This conversation shows that a mission empowers a group to say “YES” to try, “YES” to learn, and “YES” to create new things. And a growing appreciation, respect, and care for one another keeps the “YES” going through challenges.

Sandy Felder Card Design
The Gallery@57 sells hand-made masks

The Gallery@57

An artist-run enterprise that offers handcrafted products provided by local artists, artisans, and cultural entrepreneurs.

Online Shop

In addition to the work of local artists, the shop also carries a carefully curated selection of ethically sourced, fair trade, handcrafted items.

Stories

In a blog series about why art matters during trying times, Grace Julian Murthy says, "art can bring you moments of joy and hope of a better tomorrow, and that is exactly is what is needed during difficult times."

Culture Matters in Malden Episode, a podcast that offers culture as a lens to explore themes relevant to the Malden community.

Hosts: Ose Schwab
Producer: Ose Schwab
Recorded by Zoom
Date: June 13, 2020
Recorded: April 2020

Music excerpts:
“A New Puzzle” by Expendable friend

Featured image:
By Grace Julian Murthy

The Culture Matters in Malden Podcast can be heard on Soundcloud, Spotify and most Podcast Apps
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