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After 20 years, ArtXchange Gallery continues global perspective

The International Examiner
Roxanne Ray, March 4, 2016

After celebrating its 20th anniversary last year, ArtXchange Gallery continues its active schedule of six to eight exhibitions per year of artists’ work from around the world, plus numerous special events including workshops, networking events, and poetry readings.

Founder Cora Edmonds created ArtXchange Gallery in Seattle after traveling the world and documenting local cultures through her photography. She developed ArtXchange as an online resource in order to share global art with a broader audience.

Since its inception in 1995, ArtXchange has evolved from being strictly online, to offering a private showroom, to its current form in its Pioneer Square gallery that is open to the public. “Our gallery’s global perspective has been an essential connection with our artists, clients, and collectors,” said Edmonds. “We are a catalyst that brings together people who delight in exploring outside of their own geographical area and are very globally aware and connected.”

Edmonds is supported in her work by assistant director Lauren Davis and exhibitions manager Clarissa Gines. Both have demonstrated commitment to ArtXchange and have worked their way up to greater responsibility during their tenures at the gallery, Edmonds said.

Throughout her 10 years at ArtXchange, Davis’s role has been versatile. “My role is a little bit of everything, from curatorial to sales to marketing,” Davis said. “I always have one foot in the present, keeping the gallery running smoothly, and one foot in the future as I try to plan ahead and keep us growing.”

Even with new initiatives, ArtXchange continually returns to its roots in cutting-edge technology. “I’ve been very invested in keeping ArtXchange up to date with the latest technologies available for showcasing and marketing art,” Davis said. “In 1995, Cora founded the gallery as a way to use the Internet, which was newish at the time, to showcase artists from around the world and bring unprecedented access to their work to collectors in Seattle. I love that vision of using technology as a tool for connecting artists and audiences, and we still have that dedication today whether it’s early adoption of new social media, consistent development of our website, or internal technologies that allow us to operate at top speed.”

But Davis doesn’t believe that this emphasis on technology supersedes the gallery’s focus on human connection. “I love being the connector between an artists’ work and the public, it can be very magical,” Davis said. “I watch the work develop with the artist, then it goes into the world and evolves with each person who views it.”

Clarissa Gines agrees that these connections are the most satisfying aspect of her work on ArtXchange’s exhibitions. “My favorite aspect of my work is being able to assist artists with fulfilling an artistic vision and helping that come to fruition,” Gines said. “It is so gratifying to know that I am in some form or another supporting artists and their careers.”

Gines also brings an attitude of versatility to her work. “By far the biggest challenge would be learning to collaborate with an eclectic mix of different personalities,” Gines said, “and constantly adapting to various situations that come up at the gallery.”

Each exhibition has its own unique focus. “Most of our exhibitions here at the gallery are solo or two-three person shows featuring artists from our gallery roster,” Gines said. “We tend to have maybe one or two group exhibitions per year, where we invite artists to participate. These group shows generally have a cohesive theme, and so the works or artists we choose for the show tend to address that theme in some capacity.”

Davis echoes the importance of adaptation in a realm that can always bring surprises. “The biggest personal challenge I face is keeping all of our projects afloat, while also keeping an eye on the future,” Davis said. “Artists and galleries are constantly changing and I’m always keeping an eye on what is happening in the future—both in the Seattle community, as well as the larger art world.”

With the support of Davis and Gines, founder Edmonds appears to be looking toward another 20 years of supporting artists and their audiences. “We have been honored and delighted to contribute to a dynamic arts community for the past two decades,” Edmonds said. “ArtXchange Gallery will continue to spark dialogues and exchange of ideas in our ever more transnational and interconnected world.”

ArtXchange is located at 512 First Avenue South, Seattle. For more information, visit artxchange.org.

Hours: Tuesday - Saturday 11am to 5:30 pm
Open First Thursdays until 8pm for the Pioneer Square Artwalk