Despite the fact that three businesses have called it quits in Northside in the past month or so (Ali’s Boutique, Shoe-topia and the Northside Art Gallery), two ladies are trying their hand at opening something. Aileen McGrath and Chris Salley are celebrating the opening of their new gallery/boutique/supply store, Fabricate, tonight with an exhibition of Salley’s small, self-portrait paintings and music by PROJECTMILL (along with hors d’oeuvres and beverages).
Danny Cross wrote a To Do pick about the party here. And I e-mailed some questions to McGrath and Salley to learn more about their vision for the gallery/shop. See their answers below:
CityBeat: What is the name of your gallery?
CB: What does the name mean?
F: It means “to make by art or skill and labor; construct.” We’d kinda been butting heads on a name that we both liked and we’d both had that same word on our lists to describe the kinds of things we are going to be doing in there. We liked that it describes working with hard things, like metal or wood, and soft things, like textiles. It also means: “to devise or invent something.”
CB: Do you have a mission statement?
F: A store and gallery hybrid where artists, crafters and designers can be inspired, supplied and showcased.
CB: Who is responsible for the gallery? What did you two do before this?
F: We both are equally responsible for everything. We will both pick what art will show each month and work to constantly be filling the store with consigner’s merchandise. We will also both be working in the store. We will still continue to work our other jobs as well. (Chris as a Program Manager for Girl Scouts of Western Ohio and Aileen as a bartender at Northside Tavern.)
CB: There aren’t generally many galleries in Northside, save for Feralmade, which is now Raymond Thunder-Sky, inc. and Prairie. How do you think the neighborhood will respond to your presence?
F: We’ve already gotten a really positive response. We both know a lot of people in Northside and Cincinnati and it seems like everyone is coming out for the opening. We are kinda intimated actually with how many people have said they are coming. … We think the community will embrace it. There isn’t anything like what we are doing in Northside already. Everyone we talk to is really fired up to have an art show in there and create other things to sell as well.
CB: With the recent closing of businesses like shoe-topia and Ali’s Boutique, how are you two planning to ensure your vitality?
F: Bribery via pie! But seriously, this is our passion project and we both have other incomes, so we are not sweating every dollar even though it is going to be tight. We are able to experiment because we have stability elsewhere. There will be new art exhibits once a month and a lot of our friends are creative people who make amazing things, but don’t have a place to display/sell them except for online, so we are providing them that space. We will have unique items, locally made, that you can’t find anywhere else.
CB: What else will be there besides artworks?
F: Ultimately, all sorts of handmade goods from local indie crafters: art prints, scarves, jewelry, cards, stationary, accessories, pillows, curtains, unique artist T-shirt lines and eventually bigger creations like furniture and lighting. Anything that we think is interesting and would be cool to sell. We will also have art and craft supply as well. All of this we will be building up as we go. It’s gonna start-up small and then grow from there as we acquire more merchandise and, therefore, the funds to stock more art supply.
CB: What are your plans for the future? How do you envision the gallery six months from now?
F: Haha! Hopefully we’ll not still be paying rent out o’ pocket. It’s gonna be a slow build, but we are comfortable with that. We hope the creative community sees us as a resource and an outlet, as well as a great place to see new art once a month along with the other new things that their peers create. And hopefully in turn that inspires them to keep creating more things to display and sell there.
CB: What can gallery-goers expect to see in your inaugural exhibit?
F: Chris’ paintings. The space in general. Us jumping up and down when we make out first dollar…aaaannnnnd probably making sure it’s being documented via various photographic devices. Potable beverages. Their friends! The beginnings of the boutique and us communicating with future consigners about their work. Suggestion box for art supplies to stock. High fives! My mom. Snackage generously supplied to us via Hideaway, Take the Cake and cookies from the now imfamous Mikey B!
CB: You say you enter through Red Polly. HOW? Where is the gallery?
F: We are 4012 Hamiliton Ave. in Northside, but you will enter through 4016 Hamilton Ave. You will come through Red Polly’s front door, we share the same entrance. Walk to the room on the right. Two of the walls in our space will always be dedicated to artwork that will stay up all month.
CB: Tell me bout the party.
F: Fabricate’s grand opening will be on Friday, with the inaugural art show 4 x 6 x 100: an exhibition of Chris’ paintings. What started out as sketches for larger works turned into a series of one hundred 4 x 6 paintings that are self-portrait snapshots of everyday emotions, split-second ideas and random documentation of the images that reside in her brain. There will potable beverages, hors d’oeuvres and entertainment provided by the DJ’s of PROJECTMILL, creators of award winning DANCE_MF. This is your first chance to get a glimpse of the location that will house once-a-month art exhibits and shows, preview the beginnings of the boutique and meet/talk with the owners about consigning your own handiwork in the future. It’s gonna be a lot fun and will hopefully get everyone ramped up for future exhibitions we plan on having each month accompanied by different DJ’s and bands.