‘At the still point of the turning world … at the still point, there the dance is.’ T. S. Eliot
Welcome! As we announce the opening of our online store, we also embark on a new, two-way “sphere” for communications … the “blog” aka “Musings from Still Point”.
As ubiquitous as blogging has become in recent years, I confess this is my very first attempt … so, at the risk of “copping-out” on the initial content, I thought I would introduce you to us (Geoff and Kate Baker) and our gallery, Still Point, by borrowing liberally from our website and recently launched online store. My learning curve is inarguably steep but blogging as a medium to reach others with similar interests appears to have great potential. Ideally, we hope it will engage those with similar interests but, as importantly those with opposing perspectives and, a little selfishly I suppose, we hope to benefit from this blog as a means to identify our target market’s interests and as a way to gauge our performance. I hope this first blog will provide enough written and visual context to understand better who we are and where we hope to go. We also expect to use the blog as a platform to introduce new art works, artists and thought leaders as we engage reader’s ideas about art, criticism, and emerging trends. The question then is how best to use this space to create value for the constituencies with whom we regularly interact (i.e. readers, customers, artists, neighboring merchants and the broader community of Little Italy). The answer will come in large measure from our success employing this interactive channel where artists, collectors and observers can voice opinions and share perspectives.
It was my wife, Kate’s idea and vision to start Still Point Gallery over six years ago. The early plan was to consolidate my landscape photography (i.e. Baker Fine Art Photography) into a gallery business and to provide a venue to exhibit and sell original, well-curated art (i.e. paintings, prints, sculpture, ceramics, glass, jewelry art, textiles, wood, etc.). Apart from curating the physical gallery, Kate establishes the professional working relationships with the artists, and manages all day-to-day gallery operations. I’m responsible for the marketing and divide my remaining time between photographing northeast Ohio’s landscapes and those of northwestern Michigan. A rapidly growing part of the business is fine art photography commissioned by private individuals and institutions to archive homes, estates and historic buildings. Examples of my photography can be found on our website (www.stillpoint-gallery.com and www.stillpoint-gallery.com/baker-fine-art-photo/image-galleries/ ). As a note of caution, a Google search will bring up other photographers by the name of Geoffrey Baker so please double check the site to ensure you have found Still Point Gallery.
In early 2009 we decided on a space in the “Old School House” (2026 Murray Hill Road) of Little Italy’s neighborhood on Cleveland’s near east side. The rents were reasonable and more importantly it had the community infrastructure (great restaurants, bakeries, retail, specialty food markets, etc.) and a long tradition of galleries, art enthusiasts and patrons who appreciated and were accustomed to purchasing fine art. Also, the gallery site is at the geographic center of Cleveland’s arts community – only a few blocks from the Cleveland Museum of Art, MOCA, Severance Hall and other cultural institutions that ring University Circle. World-class hospitals (i.e. University Hospital, Cleveland Clinic) surround us, providing an excellent customer base through employees, patients and families who come to Cleveland from around the world for healthcare.
Apart from our love for the region and personal and professional ties, we recognize that the city is emerging as one of the country’s major art centers. The Cleveland Museum of Art (ranked as one of this country’s preeminent museums), the Cleveland Institute of Art across the street, and MOCA one block down, attract visitors and students from around the world. And, within fifty miles, the Butler Institute of American Art (the world’s first American Art museum) and the Akron Art Museum sustain institutional interest and attract capital to the region to support our artist community. We are convinced the city’s future is, in a very significant way, occasioned by and reflected in its arts community. Ironically, Little Italy, a seemingly parochial enclave at first glance, has introduced our gallery and photography to buyers and collectors around the U.S. and overseas.
Returning to my earlier musing about a blog’s role in all of this, we’ve identified a few future themes for your consideration and comment.
- How do each of us benefit from art?
- How do we extract value from art and what are the roles of galleries, artists and buyers in facilitating the process?
- What is the relationship between education and curation?
- Digital Photography” Who makes the choice (the artist or software engineers)?
- Are their limits or excesses for art’s creative use of technology?
- When and when not to buy from a gallery
Please let us know which if any of these topics interest you. We look forward to your comments and recommendations for future blog posts.