SB Contemporary Art fills the need for an independent commercial art space in Windsor
or those who believe one has to starve to be an artist, SB Contemporary Art stands in defiance.
Owned and operated by the eponymous Sarah Beveridge, the gallery has spent the better part of the last year establishing itself as a sufficient space that shows art can pay the bills in Windsor.
Beveridge herself graduated from the University of Windsor’s fine arts program in 1997 and eventually landed in Barrie. While working as an intructor at Georgian College, she opened Sarah Beveridge Contemporary Art in 2005.
“I’m also an artist myself and have always pursued my occupation alongside my art practice,” Beveridge explained.
The space drew exhibitions from some of Ontario’s artistic elite, from Shiela Butler to Charles Meanwell to Frances Cockburn. The gallery closed in 2007 when Beveridge was hired as the curator at Barrie’s MacLaren Art Centre.
When Beveridge moved back to Windsor to join her partner Chris Carvello in the early part of 2010, the open ground floor of the building he owned at 1017 Church St. provided her with a chance to satisfy her compulsion to offer a space for talent and collectors alike.
“I was interested in coming into a region like Barrie, outside of a large city centre,” Beveridge said. “There’s a lot of artists here, in terms of the community, but in terms of exhibiting and being able to sell their work, there just wasn’t that opportunity.”
SB Contemporary Art opened its doors in April with an exhibit titled “GO,” featuring work from eight of Windsor’s most esteemed artists. Despite her initials in the gallery’s name, the exhibit would set the gallery’s tone of focusing less on Beveridge and more on the work being done throughout the city.
“I’m the owner of the gallery, so it’s really a one-person show, but I’m not showing my work,” Beveridge said. “There isn’t a contemporary gallery space of this type in Windsor, and some say it was around the 60s that they remember a similar space.”
The type Beveridge refers to is a commercial space, where artists can not only show their work but make a living from it. Apart of the caliber of work coming from artists, who are also exhibiting at national and international levels, the defining factor of the gallery is its commercial nature.
“It would be a completely different entity,” Beveridge said about her gallery if it were to be a non-profit space. “I was always interested in being able to sell and represent artists’ work. It’s run differently in that a non-profit space is dependant on government grants, and the commercial space is dependent on the sales of the artists. I think the importance of collecting art, moving that art outside of the artist’s studio and into people’s homes instead of just exhibit- ing it really supports the artist in a way a non-profit space cannot always do.”
The building at 1017 Church St. is small, and despite it being nestled away in a residential section of downtown, away from the foot traffic of the business core, it has been able to draw enough of an audience to support itself and its artists.
“I think what’s interesting about Windsor is that the location and the points of interest are spread out within the city,” Beveridge said. “Once people know about the space, I think it becomes a destination. In terms of the artists and the audience that’s coming out, we’ve found so far that people are willing to make the drive and come into the little residential neighbourhood.”
SB Contemporary Art is located at 1017 Church St. Gallery hours can be found at sbcontemporaryart.com. The current exhibition, “Are you in the room?” runs until Mar. 3.