We recently talked to Craig Freeborn from the artist run gallery ‘State of Princes’. Originally from Dunedin, ‘State of Princes’ is relocating to Auckland and they are currently running a BOOSTED campaign to help raise funds for the all important set up costs.
What and who is ‘State of Princes’?
State of Princes is an artist run gallery space that started out on Princes St in Dunedin in 2015, run by Justin Spiers and Craig Freeborn. Now in Auckland, it has become a project that I (Craig) have taken on… with plenty of input from friends.
Why did you decide to move the gallery from Dunedin up to Auckland? And how do you think the arts communities differ?
I moved to Auckland last year to work at the James Wallace arts Trust. The gallery became an idea again when I found this great studio space on Dominion Rd. It has a front room that will function perfectly as a gallery…. after a few adjustments have been made. I talk to a lot of artist that are in need of a space to show so it made sense to me to start up SofP again in Auckland.
The scale of the arts community up here is very encouraging. A city that can support the number of galleries showing truly contemporary work is quite impressive. Dunedin has a fantastic creative community that attracts plenty of talented artists, but most of the work that is sold down there tends to be a bit more “traditional”. There are a few wonderful supporters of art in Dunedin however, and with their help we were able to run the space and focus on exciting and critically engaged artists from all over NZ.
You’re currently running a Boosted campaign in order to raise funds for setting up the Auckland gallery, what does this involve?
We are looking to transform our new space and get things up and running by mid June. The idea is to create a professional and welcoming gallery to showcase artwork to its full potential. The lighting situation and carpeted floors have got to go. The space has great potential aside from that and I think a few touch ups, some nice signage and a paint job will go a long way. The boosted money will help us achieve these goals. Any help is greatly appreciated.
How did you go finding a space? I think this is one of the biggest challenges artists are facing when they want to start an artist run initiative, especially given the current rent prices in Auckland! Could you tell us about the unique location you found, and how you are covering the costs?
Well just quietly I was at work looking for a storage space for the Wallace collection. This building didn’t fit those requirements but it looked like something I wanted to take on myself. The address is level 1, 246 Dominion Rd, but the entrance is around the back by the Resene paint store. There is a great Chinese restaurant beside us and we share this large balcony space with them and grungy style pool bar. I think openings up there should be fun. The gallery will take a commission on sales to keep things ticking over but by having my studio there out the back of the gallery, the rent doesn’t look so terrifying. Will you run an open call for proposals, or will you be managing the exhibition programme internally, or will it be a potent mix of the two?
Definitely a mix of the two. I still have a few emails to go through from artists that approached us looking for a show in the Dunedin gallery, so hopefully they can handle the fact that we’re now in Auckland. The first three or four months are pretty much sorted now but later in the year we will do a call out for proposals.
Thanks Craig, best of luck with the BOOSTEDCampaign, we look forward to seeing what the future holds for State of Princes!
Find the BOOSTED Campaign here: https://www.boosted.org.nz/projects/state-of-princes-gallery-auckland
And the State of Princes website with documentation from all the previous exhibitions is here: http://www.stateofprinces.com/