We’re chatting with Sarah, who’s shop Small Spaces (around the corner from HydroSkin HQ!) has just closed. Sarah’s creative contribution to the local community has been selfless, diverse and unprecedented. She worked to create an amazing platform which supported and promoted emerging artists, while also exhibiting local and international creatives.
Sarah, we're sorry to see you go!
Small Spaces began as a creative retail space which sold art and furniture designed to suit small living spaces. But as it evolved, the focus changed, with more emphasis on creating a platform where artists, makers and creators could sell and exhibit work.
Sarah says this shift was organic, like much of the shop’s evolution.
For Sarah, that began on a personal level, which naturally developed into the premise for the business.
“It was a sociological attitude that was changing.”
What Sarah quickly discovered was that there was a large group of career artists who had nowhere to show regularly. Even those who did have an established relationship with galleries were only able to exhibit once every 1 or 2 years. And that wasn’t sustainable as an income. Sarah realised her space offered a unique opportunity for these artists, where they had the opportunity to maintain an income that upheld their practice.
Sarah outside Small Spaces with her dog, Bunny.
Sarah isn’t an artist herself, but has always had an interest in an artist’s ability to reach inside themselves and express something to the world.
“Art is that in it’s pure form. It’s not about the financial side, it’s out of that system. It’s not driven by money, like say, design.”
“In fact, it’s probably the most powerful thing in making us feel better about giving life reason.”
Sarah’s closing exhibition was delightfully different to most exhibits Small Spaces has seen during its time.
“Like everything, it came about organically, we talked about having an exhibition of local kids’ work, I’d made the decision to close and thought it would be a nice final exhibit.”
The exhibition displayed works from children who attend the local Pine Street Studios. It provided them with the opportunity show their work to a more diverse audience, larger than just friends or family. For most, this was their first opportunity to do so.
Sarah admits she hadn’t put a lot of thought into the fact that these kids create artworks without necessarily getting an opportunity to experience artistic practice as a whole - to take it through to the point where they exhibit to strangers and put value on their work. While none of the art was being sold at the show, people did show significant interest in purchasing pieces, which attached a value to the the work which the kids’ hadn’t previously experienced.
Work from the kids' exhibit at Small Spaces. Photo Credit: Sarah @small_spaces
Sarah’s not sure what’s next, but the bittersweet closing process has left her feeling resolved. She says that any sadness in leaving stems from not being part of the local community on a regular basis.
“There are kids who I’ve seen being born and growing up. They’re 5 years old now, walking past the shop at 3 o’clock every day. And local people know I’m here, and know they can drop by for a bit of a chat… So that’s been really nice.”
The feelings are mutual - we’re all sad to see Sarah go! And greatly value the the opportunities she created for the local and international creative community.
Good luck with your future endeavours, Sarah, we’re excited to see where this new chapter takes you!