FINDLAY STREET PROJECT SPACE: Solway’s Laboratory Offshoot

June 21st, 2013  |  Published in June 2013

FINDLAY STREET PROJECT SPACE: Solway’s Laboratory Offshoot

By Kevin Ott

Findlay Street Project Space

Fifty years in the art business have not made the Solways, Carl or Michael, too satisfied with their status as the region’s premier modern/contemporary gallery. Recently they announced the opening of Findlay Street Project Space, a separate gallery located on the first floor of Solway’s Findlay Street building.

It is an independent gallery, a rectangle of about 1200 square feet, natural light entering through windows along its east wall, the walls painted gallery white. The space is clean and unfussy, easy to use for a broad variety of exhibitions or performances.

The press release states that “the goal of this new space is to extend the boundaries of a typical art gallery into a space that is programmed to function as a service to the community.” Currently, a myriad of projects are being considered, including exhibitions, performance and film events. “We want to open it to the ideas of the community,” Carl Solway added.

“We were motivated by the SCPA, which needed a gallery space for 2 months of the year”, Carl Solway said. At present, the School for Creative and Performing Arts has a show of work by visual art students, grades 3 through 11. To follow, June 28-August 24, Carl Solway Gallery has curated a show of Jean-Pierre Hebert Sculptures and Drawings in the space. Hebert melds theoretical physics and computer programming to make sculptures and drawings. Later, in September, Annie Bolling will curate a show. When the Solway Gallery uses the space, as they are for the Hebert show, it will be, in Carl’s words, “in a more exploratory way…as a laboratory.” The Findlay Street Project Space will be filled with a mix of non-profit use and for-profit entities.

Jean-Pierre Hebert – Sand Installation

The FSPS promises to be a bit more spontaneous and variable in terms of programming, the shows usually not lasting more than a month or so. FSPS gives the Solways a chance to expand their footprint within their building and within the art community, overseeing the programming of outside curators, film and performance, while also creating a more vibrant scene within the building. “We wanted to bring new ideas and activities to the Findlay Street campus,” Carl said. The symbiotic relationship between the Carl Solway Gallery and the Findlay Street Project Space benefits both entities as well as all art enthusiasts. It is a great opportunity for independent curators to present shows adjacent to a well- known gallery. Project or event proposals will be considered by a committee. Staffing of the space will be done by the entity using it.

This is not the first time Carl Solway has created a self-contained “arts district”. In the late 1970s and 1980s, West 4th Street was alive with nearly a dozen successful galleries and Friday night openings were a happening. Carl and his gallery were at the center of and the impetus for that. The Findlay Street building has long housed other galleries, artist studios and the framer with the eye of an artist, Bill Renschler. It is an art outpost in a neighborhood still rough around the edges, mostly dilapidated manufacturing and apartment buildings surrounding it. But, its proximity to the Findlay Market, the burgeoning Brewery District, the revived Rookwood Pottery and the rest of OTR, positions it well in Cincinnati’s core resurgence. The location also has a sense of place, a destination that is a little like our own version of Chelsea, circa 1980. Findlay Street Project Space will add yet another fine reason to visit this inner city arts campus.

Kevin Ott

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