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Trenton's BSB Gallery to Close August 1, 2020

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Trenton's BSB Gallery to Close August 1, 2020

After three years and 27 exhibitions, the BSB Gallery in Trenton will be closing its doors at the conclusion of the current exhibit on August 1, 2020. "As hard as we tried, we were unable to sustain its operation," says Tom Gilmour, executive director of Trenton Downtown Association (TDA), which operates the gallery. Over the past several months, TDA has had to cancel its special events, which generated a significant portion of the income needed to support the gallery and its free programming and exhibitions.

Since the day the gallery opened, in the former Broad Street Bank Building on State Street, it has served as a welcoming education and community center, as well as a magnificent space for contemporary art. The space provided an environment for wonderful things to happen. It inspired artists to create something special, and it encouraged people to stop in just to be a part of it.

In addition to the BSB Gallery, TDA provides a number of cultural programs and events designed to promote the revitalization of New Jersey's Capital City. "I am a believer that the arts are an important economic driver and that we will be back," Gilmour stresses. "We are sincerely grateful to everyone who participated and supported the BSB Gallery, from its patrons to its dedicated staff and beneficiaries. Together we created a platform that promoted and recognized the extraordinary arts and artists in Trenton, a city whose affordable studio and living space, along with its community-focused entrepreneurial spirit, continues to attract more and more creative talent," he adds. We are grateful for all the hard work and dedication of our two curators Christy O'Connor and Áine Mickey.

Co-curator Christy O'Connor is especially proud not only of the quality of work exhibited, but also that "we were able to provide an art space to people who might not otherwise have had access to one."

O'Connor is an artist, curator and arts activist. She and co-curator Áine Mickey made a point to showcase the work of both local and regional artists, and both new and seasoned artists.

"We gave so many new artists the chance, and the confidence, to be in their first show. You have to think of that as the equivalent of your first job. Everyone needs to be in that one first show to get them started, to dip their toes into the world of exhibiting," says Mickey, herself a Trenton-born artist and fine arts photographer and editor. "It's so rewarding to mentor and support other artists."

The two, who didn't know each other when the gallery opened, but became good friends and a powerhouse co-curating team, were continually coming up with innovative ideas for new community events, artists meetups, portfolio reviews, knitting classes and other workshops. Since the start of the pandemic, all of their programming as well as their exhibitions went online.

"The response to our Zoom and live streaming social media events has been incredible. We've been able to reach and connect with so many more people than we normally would have. These are times people need the arts the most. I am glad we could be there for them," adds O'Connor.

Virtual gallery tours and exhibitions, including the current "Free Enterprise," have also been well received. "Free Enterprise" discusses capitalism, its effects and the ever-growing controversy of the American Dream through the creative lens of regional and international and multidisciplinary artists. The show runs through the end of the month. They are hoping to sell some pieces to help support the artists. You can view the exhibit at bsbgallery.com.

"Our goal was to curate meaningful, impactful exhibitions that got people to think," says Mickey. "And to create a welcoming space where people wanted to be. Anyone can enjoy art."

The BSB Gallery played a significant role in expanding awareness of all the great art being created in Trenton. "While this loss will be felt by many, there is no question that what Christy and Áine achieved will have a lasting impact on the Trenton arts scene and community," adds Gilmour.

For more information about the gallery and its last exhibition, visit bsbgallery.com. For more information about the gallery closing, please contact Tom Gilmour at 908.489.8820 or tom@trenton-downtown.com.


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