Immediately upon entering the Common Ground Gallery, I am struck by the bold black and white checkered tiles which stretch across the long floor and the feeling of space contributed by its high ceilings. Squares of yellow light are cast diagonally across the bright white walls as sunlight streams in through the French doors that open to the outside. To discover more about this intriguing space and the artists who fill it, I accompanied Sergio Forest, one of the volunteers for the non-profit gallery, into a small nook of an office, with the same tall ceiling, nestled just inside the gallery doors.
Forest explains the gallery started as a kind of grass roots movement twenty-six years ago, supported by the Art Gallery of Windsor and Artcite. The intention was to support local talent by offering affordable, high quality studio space to burgeoning artists. While it is still mainly local multi-media artwork that is to be found on Common Ground’s walls, visiting artists are equally welcomed into the space. The gallery is also not offered exclusively to emerging artists but to new and experienced artists alike.
The particular benefit to new artists however, is that holding a show at Common Ground “provides a kind of training ground; a familiarity with the process,” says Forest. Artists can hold an individual exhibit for the unrivaled low cost of $60, or a group exhibition for $100, which includes a reception with the option of having wine and beer for guests. Those wishing to support the gallery can also become friends of Common Ground for a $20 donation and will be kept apprised of all new events and exhibitions.
The non-juried exhibition space truly does provide a common ground for new artists as well as those experienced in the process. Aspiring artists have the opportunity to display their work, learn how the process works and gain valuable feedback from their community.
“Common Ground Gallery is here as a resource to benefit the region,” Forest explains. Not only does it support new artists but it also promotes arts exposure in Windsor and offers a venue for Windsorites to actively engage in the arts and connect with the artists.
The Common Ground Gallery is located at 3277 Sandwich Street, just inside the front doors of MacKenzie Hall. To contact the gallery you can email [email protected] or call 519-252-6380. For information about upcoming exhibitions visit their website. The Common Ground Gallery is open Tuesday-Saturday from 10a.m. to 5p.m.