New Motion Gallery: A refreshing platform for local art and artists

Story by Jenessa Blanchet

You may not have noticed or heard of New Motion Gallery (New Motion). Tucked away in the corner of a city that has its share of prestigious and well known art spots lies this uplifting, exciting and inviting creative haven. This little gallery invites you to come rethink everything you believe you know about what an art gallery experience should be.  With affordable pieces, rotating showcases and unpretentious, instructive classes and drawing sessions, New Motion is a refreshing platform for local art and artists in YYC.

I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with two of New Motion’s board members and resident artists, Viviana Pacheco and Stephen Dolha, to have a candid conversation about the gallery’s philosophy and its exciting new direction.

“We want to encompass not just artists, but also people buying the art. Art is an emotional thing for both the artist and the buyer,” explained Pacheco as we discussed the immersive and collective atmosphere of the gallery, where artists are encouraged to actively participate in operations and events.

“We’re giving artists a chance to learn to market their art, learn how to run an online business, connect with other artists and clients in a very open environment. There is no sense of competition; we equally want everyone to be successful.”

New Motion encourages artists to “show up” for their work. As Pacheco went on to say, “I don’t mean just be around, but to actively promote and talk about and support their work. The artists that sell the most, at the gallery, are constantly present and involved.”

In stark contrast to commercial galleries, where the focus and prestige seems to be awarded to the institution rather than the artist, New Motion is intent on giving credit where credit is due.

“We’re turning the tides for how galleries are run,” says Dolha. “We’re letting the artist be the center of the art rather than the gallery itself. Not all galleries have the artist’s best interests at heart. New Motion is a cornucopia of artists and people where we’re changing the equation in favour of the artist.”

Both Pacheco and Dolha expressed frustration with how traditionally galleries can have a real lack of diversity in what they present to the viewer.

“They’re making a decision for the buyer,” they both said, almost in unison, in respect to the fact that when galleries select artists to represent, they limit what art a buyer has access to.

New Motion displays a wide variety of art in multiple styles and mediums and regularly holds varied showcases covering everything from abstracts to fan art. Artists interested in showing with the gallery are almost never turned away. While some work may not fit the intention or mood of the gallery, for the most part, anything goes. The only caveat is that the artist actively participate in the gallery’s activities.

“We’re not here to sell your $20,000 work of art; we’re here for you to learn the business of what to do with your art,” says Pacheco. “People feel your art through you and so we encourage artists to show up and show initiative.”

Managed by a diverse board of directors, with varied, complementary skillsets and run entirely by volunteers, this not-for-profit gallery operates on the support of patrons and donations, often only just making ends meet. It’s very clear, however, that it’s passion that is the true ongoing life force that sustains the gallery.

As Pacheco says, “Everything we do in life has to be a work of passion.”

New Motion is a place where there is as little separation as possible between the gallery, the artist and the buyer. And it’s a gallery you need to visit often – not just to see what’s new up on the walls, or to take an art class, but to step foot inside an establishment that will leave you feeling at least a little, or more than likely a lot, of the residual passion of its members. New Motion is a gallery with true heart and a genuine love for art in an engaging and accessible state; that is something that should be celebrated and supported and is more than worth a visit.

For more information on New Motion Gallery visit www.motiongallery.ca