An insight into art gallery life
If you’ve visited Joanne’s coastal art gallery recently, you may have noticed a girl in a Springsteen jacket trying to curb her disorganised creative aurora into neatly packing tea towels, that’s me! A local Cullercoats resident who has since the beginning of November been working for Joanne and Ross. Packing their products ready for trade shows, making sure the clean and friendly atmosphere of their art gallery is upheld, but most importantly for me - gaining work experience and a precious insight into how a local gallery is run.
Art in our local area
As a wannabe artist and great appreciator of all things beachy and creative, seeing the scenes of the local coastline (where I often surf with my dad or write my own poetry) realised with such exquisite beauty on the products I package is a very valuable experience; nevermind a job. One that allows me to realise that creativity can, despite the warnings of some of the career officers at school, not only be a job but a lifestyle that is enjoyable and nourishing.
Day to Day Schedule
Starting at 12pm, me and my colleague Evie tend to do a quick tidy up of the front space in the art gallery before customers arrive. Then, we go on packing gifts to fill the art gallery as well as lots of other independent retailers across the country, from as far as Orkney Islands to the Scilly Isles. We package Joanne’s handmade screen printed and textile artworks then tag and fold tea towels that depict local wildlife. Later in the day we ensure that the great range of cards Joanne produces is well stocked and ready for purchase.
Environmental Sustainability in the Art Gallery
Being involved in this business has also reassured me that running a successful business doesn’t have to be bad for the environment. Joanne’s cards are not only made from FSC certified board (meaning that they are committed to making sure our forests are sustainable for generations to come), but are packaged in recycled paper envelopes and biodegradable sleeves. Giving us the ability to enjoy gifting them, as I often do, to our friends and loved ones, knowing that we are doing our bit to protect the world.
Keeping the Gallery up to date
The gallery space is a vital part of displaying Joanne's work, as well as speaking to customers that come to visit. Me and Evie are involved in interactions with customers at the front desk, so if you see us, make sure to say hi, and forgive me if I haven’t quite got to grips with the card machine just yet! Another important part of our Saturdays is maintaining the gallery displays, making sure the newest range of mugs, cushions, magnets and coasters are on display as well as lots of up and coming original paintings. Helping Joanne create window displays for special occasions, like the recent Christmas window display with snowflakes and new original art, is also a part of my job that allows creativity to flourish.
Lasting imprint of Gallery Life
Lastly, but most of all, I think that seeing our local area being painted with such justice to its beauty is perhaps what has drawn me to working here at the art gallery, and what makes Joanne’s work so unique. Being surrounded by local scenes and products makes art and creativity something that is not just confined to the galleries of London, but something that the people of Cullercoats can access, with the art precious because it is places that we know and love and recognise. And after a day of packing cards and sending catalogues, my working day is only complete when I walk home and see the scenes that I have just been preparing for display. It makes me appreciate them a little more, which is an unusual but rather satisfying feeling that I don’t imagine is enjoyed by most 16 year olds on the way back from work. However, despite how much I do love the Cullercoats coastline, it’s a lot nicer to be packaging pictures of it in the warm than having to deliver papers in the rain!