The Corner Store Gallery is very much a family run business. My parents, sister and husband are a major part of my operations here at the gallery and there’s no way I’d be here without them. I’ve been asked a lot recently how I came to open an art gallery, so I thought I’d write a blog post to tell you our story. This article will also give you a look into our new home because I know a lot of you sticky beaks would like to see the inside of the house…….
How I Came to Open a Gallery
I grew up in Orange, I lived just around the corner from the gallery actually, I used to buy lollies here in the 90’s when it was Thommo’s Corner Store. I travelled for a couple of years after high school in the US teaching art and jewellery classes at summer camps, and then completed a degree in Fine Arts at The University of Newcastle in 2009.
I returned to Orange in 2011 to work as the Artist in Residence at Kinross Wolaroi School for 4 years, the best job I’ve ever had! At the time there were no galleries or exhibition spaces in Orange apart from the Regional Gallery, so it was hard to exhibit my work as an emerging artist. I used to joke that I’d open a gallery of my own one day to fill the gap in the market, little did I know this would come true……
in 2014 we came across a little corner store for sale just down the street from where Erick (my now husband) and I were living, it was a hairdressers at the time and was the very same corner store I bought lollies from as a child. My parents were looking for a little “fixer-upper” and it was my mum’s idea, Suellen Young, to start a gallery - we could live out the back of the shop so it could work financially. Suddenly the dream I never knew I had was a possibility.
We bought the shop! My dad, Rob Young, worked very hard for 6 months on the renovations, patching up holes and replacing windows, removing walls and hair washing basins, demolishing a floating panelled ceiling and cleaning up the original, rusty tin ceiling underneath giving the gallery more height and space. We took the bars and blinds off the large windows, painted it all white, installed proper lighting and a hanging system and suddenly we had an art gallery.
Our little one-bedroom studio apartment out the back of the gallery was home for 3 years and we loved it! However, after my dad retired in 2016 he got to work building a new home for Erick and I that was detached from the gallery.
Our brilliant architect Casey Bryant of Trias Studio designed a beautiful, practical and incredibly spacious home for us that we couldn’t be happier with! Casey’s design recently won the best new Infill Development award for the Orange City Council Cultural Heritage Awards.
During the build I became pregnant (of course) so our little family had begun. Magnus was born in March 2018, so I took some time off. Suddenly I had to become more flexible with how the gallery was run. We now have lots of flexible rental options for artists, designers and teachers to make the space their own. You can rent the gallery for 1, 2 or 3 week blocks, manage the event yourself or have me staff the show for you. The gallery is a blank canvas, we aim to provide high quality facilities, support and promotion to our creatives and provide the best possible platform to facilitate their ideas. We hold exhibitions, popups and workshops regularly at the gallery, showcasing a diverse range of work and events. We represent many talented locals, as well as artists and designers from all over Australia. The gallery also holds 2 to 3 group exhibitions each year providing artists with opportunities to get involved without the pressure of a solo exhibition. These are often our most popular events and are a fantastic way for emerging artists to be discovered.
Our 5th birthday is coming up this August, I’m a bit chuffed to be honest. We’re celebrating with a fantastic Group Exhibition called AUSTRALIANA which you are all invited to attend on August 15th from 6pm! I’d like to thank everyone who has contributed to the business over the past 5 years, from my family always helping out, particularly at opening nights, friends who baby sit when I have an event on, visitors who come to every show without fail, my wonderful artists and designers, you’re all amazing and I couldn’t possibly have done it without you! Thank you from the bottom of my heart! Here’s to the next 5 years……
Our New Home
Below are some photographs of our new home out the back of the gallery for those of you who are interested…..