Newcastle's newest independent art gallery opens in the West End
For those familiar with Newcastle's arts community it's no secret there is an ever growing pool of emerging and established artists working away in home studios and collaborative spaces across the city and beyond.
In addition to this flourishing arts community is the recent influx of independent art galleries opening throughout the city, and new to this line up is Wester Gallery.
Set to open on Friday 1st July with a local bang, Wester Gallery sits inconspicuously on Wood St, Newcastle’s West, and speaking with gallery owner and Newcastle artist Justin Lees, he explained his vision for Wester Gallery and how the space came to be,
“Back in 2009 myself and my business partner Cal launched RAD Store in the Newcastle Mall, and at the time we toyed with the idea of setting up an art gallery, but that didn’t eventuate into anything.”
“More recently my wife Leah, who owns the catering business Sea Salt & Sage, was looking for a new space for her kitchen and when this building became available we thought why not put an art gallery out the front. So this is my first dedicated art gallery space.”
While Justin is an established artist himself, the concept of Wester Gallery wasn't to showcase his own work, rather to create a space for established and emerging artists,
“I’ve pushed my solo show back five times already, I’ve had a lot of artists get in contact about having their exhibition here which has been a little surprising.”
Justin goes onto explain that Wester Gallery isn’t only going to showcase fine art, with the idea being to curate a mix of artists,
“One of the artists we have coming up is the Byron Bay based Jacob Boylan, who is a visual artist and takes a tongue-in-cheek approach to Australian culture, politics, gambling and pub culture."
“I want to keep it varied and interesting, so I've been reaching out to not only local artists but artists in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane so I can attract exhibitions that wouldn’t ordinarily be seen in Newcastle”.
Wester Gallery exhibitions will open on the first of each month and run for 3 weeks with Justin taking care of everything from designing the artwork for the show through to curating a playlist.
Whilst the venue is predominately an art gallery, Wester Gallery can also be hired out for private events of any kind, it also features its very own alleyway which Justin says he plans to make use of for future events.
At the launch of Wester Gallery on Friday 1st July, Justin will be hosting an opening event with all invited to catch the first exhibition - AT A GLANCE: THE BEGINNING which is bringing together seven well established Newcastle artists.
Wester Gallery presents
AT A GLANCE: THE BEGINNING
Address: 16 Wood Street, Newcastle West
Opening Night: 6pm - 9pm
Artists: Liz Pike, Nick Barlow, Ileigh Hellier, Nick Finatn, Kimberly Swan, Mila Knight, Justin Lees
For more information about AT A GLANCE and the artists visit wester.gallery.