Studio 1.1 in Shoreditch used last week’s First Thursdays private view for its biennial fundraising initiative ART/CONVERTERS: 50+ donated works by established and upcoming artists, all priced at £200, with the aim of keeping the gallery and concept alive.

Studio 1.1 is a not-for-profit organisation, focussing heavily on the quality and range of work regardless of an artist’s career, reputation or discipline.  Admirably, it’s a truly international concept, with sister galleries in Haarlem, Netherlands (Studio 1.2), Poços de Caldas, Brazil (Studio 1.3) and Susak, Croatia (Studio 1.4).

As with any grassroots movement, quality of works on the night varied considerably.  Some were interesting, while others felt last minute and repurposed.

IMG_20140206_194640  IMG_20140206_194850  IMG_20140206_201644

IMG_20140206_201317  IMG_20140206_200518  IMG_20140206_194836

This is completely understandable, given a basic need for volume of works, high attendance and sales.

While it might not be able to achieve the cohesiveness and direction of shows at more established and well-funded galleries, its commitment to an inclusive philosophy gives it masses of potential to create a friendly and accessible art space.  And this is what struck me most about ART/CONVERTERS.

The turnout was fantastic and the crowd diverse.  People were approachable and happy to engage.  If there’s one thing that the art world needs, it’s greater inclusivity – in this sense, Studio 1.1 has a lot going for it.

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Moving forward, I imagine it will face the same difficulties as any initiative built on ideals: how to balance integrity with growth.


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