When I started my position as Gallery Coordinator right as the world stopped in March, I was uncertain about what we would be able to accomplish in Connect+Collect’s physical gallery space. This summer was one of several shifts—seismic shifts, like the variance between our expectations for what the year would look like and what it has actually manifested as, and minuscule ones like the resignation of moving through one day of quarantine after another. All the while, in the midst of these transfers and movements, I was thinking about my role in the Baltimore art ecosystem.
With fewer opportunities to exhibit art and make connections with collectors and viewers in traditional social settings, my mission has shifted to find new models of highlighting artists’ work in order to expose them to greater audiences that hopefully contain collectors. And with the help of Savannah Wood and the task of converting the gallery facade for her exhibition, Close Read, Connect+Collect is proud to move forward in a new direction, marking the next phase of innovative programming at the gallery.
Close Read is a group exhibition featuring work by Akea Brionne Brown, SHAN Wallace, and Savannah Wood culled from and inspired by their research in the AFRO American Newspapers’ archives. We have transformed our physical gallery space into a surface for projecting video and digital works. Digital exhibitions will be viewable entirely from the outside on North Charles Street for people passing by. Close Read and all other subsequent shows will be screened nightly from sunset until 11 p.m.
Starting in November, I will begin considering submissions for video work to be exhibited in our window gallery. Each selected work will be screened at Connect+Collect for two weeks. The digital window gallery will allow Baltimore-based artists and creatives to see their work in their community on a grand scale.
I was initially overwhelmed and reluctant to switch the gallery from a physical exhibition space into something more unfamiliar, like a digital gallery front. When so many galleries and museums were creating online exhibitions, I am happy that this new phase of programming allows us to congregate and experience art together safely, on the street or in our cars from a distance. There are many things I miss about my old life, but the thing that I miss the most is the ability to see art out in the world and in the midst of other people. I know that many of you miss similar moments, and I am happy that Connect+Collect can create similar opportunities to occur in our unprecedented world and uncertain circumstances.
Close Read’s opening will be held entirely outside, and is undoubtedly different from a typical art opening. Please join us at sunset if you feel comfortable, and wear your masks as we celebrate this exhibition in a socially distant manner.
“We believe that everyone can benefit from engaging with the arts and, specifically, from collecting the art of their place and time. Connect+Collect was designed to create opportunities for collectors to build relationships with artists based in Baltimore through studio tours, speaker series, events, gallery openings, PD for artists, and through BmoreArt Magazine. We work with artists and galleries across the city and feature exhibitions in our gallery space.” —Connect+Collect Mission Statement