- General Office Gallery and Artist Studios, Stourbridge
- West Midlands
General Office (GO) is an arts space in the Black Country town of Stourbridge; set up in 2018 it houses eight artist studios alongside a gallery / exhibition / workshop / activity space.
By the beginning of 2020, the gallery had supported 12 exhibitions, a mix of group and solo shows, artist and author talks, a developing series of art workshops and a growing sense of itself as an ‘art place’ in the locality. During our first hired gallery exhibition in March we entered unknowingly into lockdown. As with so many people, we were dazed and stunned by unfolding events. It was time to take stock, reflect and wonder for the future, for the studio tenants livelihoods and the list of exhibitions and commitments that were scheduled in. Mindful of the exhibitions and activities we had hosted and supported we did an online review, tending the threads of connection and reminding ourselves of what GO had achieved thus far.
Reflecting on the summer of 2020, it seems now like a time of hopefulness, galleries unlocking and even the possibility of workshops were appearing. We were very grateful that all our studio tenants had remained and as ever we appreciate their ongoing support. With a list of postponed exhibitions, talks in the pipeline, we were tentatively pondering how to transfer these online. Towards September 2020 we boldly considered our 2nd Open Exhibition; a great success the previous year, we were looking forward to meeting new artists and engaging in fresh creative conversation. We put the call out for an Autumn Open – untitled and open to all expressions of artworks. Unsure what the response would be we were heartened to receive interest and from a wide geographical reach – the furthest submission being a film piece from Raji Jagadeesan in the US! www.raji.studio
Here we are at the beginning of February with a gallery filled with a sophisticated and broad multidisciplinary exhibition of over 25 artist’s works. How we long to open our doors wide open and invite the public in! Taking the bold move to put an exhibition on we made the equally big move of taking all the work online to a very new website www.generaloffice.co.uk another tick on the list for GO. The majority of work is for sale and we are very pleased that the red dots are already out!
In order to expand and explore the artists further we presented them with the challenge of a Q&A. We are currently posting a number of these each week on our social media links and aim to make an online catalogue including this series. It has been greatly illuminating to hear from artists about their lockdown experience – many have benefited, pushing practice comfort zones and finding new methods of working. Many have struggled on personal levels with the loss of friends and family members and found the artistic community a source of solace and inspiration. Our thanks to all the exhibitors for taking part – their patience, flexibility and enthusiasm!
Do visit General Office Online Exhibition at www.generaloffice.co.uk for information on the artists and their works, prices etc. Contact us on [email protected] to find out more. The website is in development and there are many more pages to add on the studio artists, archive of past exhibitions and our hope for future events and activities.