M. Chapel Projects gallery is evolving into SPAACES, a new organization that aims to help artists succeed.
Marianne Chapel likes to get her hands dirty — and you don’t always get to do that as a corporate art gallery owner.
In November 2017 she opened M. Chapel Projects, a contemporary gallery that doubled as her studio off U.S. 301 North.
But she quickly realized she’d prefer to lead a nonprofit over a traditional business.
“I’d rather work in the trenches,” Chapel says. “It just fits my personality better to work with artists that need support and to provide something for the community that we currently don’t have.”
That missing piece is affordable studio space for local artists, she says, so M. Chapel Projects is now undergoing a transition into SPAACES, which stands for Sarasota Project Aligning Artists Communities Exhibits Studios.
SPAACES is a fiscal sponsorship, a step down from a nonprofit that many organizations take on while working to gain 501(c)(3) status. It’s a legal agreement with another 501(c)(3) that serves as sponsor for a project that doesn’t have exempt status yet. The sponsor is a sort of umbrella organization, expanding fundraising opportunities and holding money raised in a restricted fund for the project.
Chapel’s project is sponsored by Fractured Atlas, which provides business tools to artists.
Whereas the objective of an art gallery is to generate a profit, the goal of SPAACES is to help artists achieve their goals in a supportive, professional environment that fosters collaboration.
Without much additional help at the moment, we might add.
“This is really a grassroots effort,” Chapel says. “There’s nobody (on my team) really but myself … so I’m constantly learning and taking classes on how nonprofits work and studying that whole world.”
She’ll start with the gallery she has at 2087 Princeton St. and change it to fit her needs as the organization grows. Eventually, Chapel wants to raise enough money to create a new brick-and-mortar space that can include six or so separate studios with a locked door along with a collaboration room, kitchen and some exhibition space.
She notes that Sarasota doesn’t have a nonprofit dedicated to contemporary art, and she wants to fill that hole with an organization that focuses on progressive forms of contemporary art — particularly social practice art.
This art form requires an artist to work with a community of nonartists to produce a piece. One example in an article Chapel recently posted on her Facebook page is when artist Vik Muniz asked workers at a Brazilian landfill to create self-portraits from the recyclable items at the site. The project was Muniz’s idea, but the community members serving as the subjects were the creators.
The first public project of this sort that SPAACES will undertake is a collaboration with the nonprofit Truly Valued. This Manatee County-based organization helps empower at-risk young women to give them the tools they need to grow and gain confidence.
Chapel will work with five young women who receive services from Truly Valued to create art. The project revolves around the question, “Who am I?” Chapel says participants will have to look deep within themselves and ask how they feel about the world around them — all inspiration that they’ll channel into a physical work of art.
This month, Chapel is also hosting her first SPAACES exhibit, “Le Salon Tout Inclus.”
Chapel is accepting the first 100 pieces no matter what the skill set or background of the artist is. There’s no criteria or fee to submit, so the hope is to get a mix of professional, emerging and amateur art to be displayed.
“It’s to talk about inclusivity and affordability in the art world.”
Everything will be sold for $200 in order to make the work more accessible to potential buyers. Half of the purchase price will go back to the artist and the other $100 will go back to SPAACES.
One underlying mission of the exhibit and SPAACES at large is to show local art students and other young artists that Sarasota is a thriving arts community.
“They want to go ... to a place that’s more active artistically,” she continues. “If we can give them a reason to stick around and make art here, that would be really fantastic.”