By Sarrita Hunn
December 17, 2012
How is the project operated?
ROY G BIV Gallery is a non-profit art gallery with artist members, a board of trustees, one paid employee–the gallery director, and a team of unpaid interns.
How long has it been in existence?
ROY opened in 1989, and has since operated out of several locations in the Short North neighborhood in Columbus, Ohio.
What was your motivation?
ROY primarily exists to provide a space for artwork that transcends commercial concerns, and to provide that space to artists before they are fully established.
Number of organizers/responsible persons of the project.
There are ten board members, including a president, vice-president, treasurer, and secretary. There is a gallery director, and an ever-changing roster of interns. ROY also depends on ad hoc participation from members of the community to fill roles as jurors, liaisons, community partners, and program sponsors.
How are programs funded?
Who is responsible for the programming?
ROY’s programming is decided through an anonymous jurying process. The gallery director and board decide on an eminent juror or jurors from the community–recent jurors include Wexner Center Curator-at-Large Bill Horrigan
, and OSU History of Art Professor Kris Paulsen
, among others–and then the director issues a call-for-entries that artists submit to. The entries are then collected and made anonymous, at which point the director send them to the juror. Jurors change each year, but are usually either professional artists, professors, critics, or curators. ROY’s main exhibition season is picked all at once–for instance, we’re currently booked until January 2014. There are, however, a number of other exhibitions that the gallery director directly recruits artists for throughout the year at ROY’s partner locations, like the Columbus Metropolitan Library
Number and average duration of exhibitions/events per year.
There are twelve main exhibitions each year (ten two-person exhibitions, one community outreach exhibition, and one members’ small works exhibition) at ROY’s gallery. Those exhibitions last from the first to last Saturday of each month. In addition, there is the yearly ImageOhio
exhibition, which ROY organizes for The Shot Tower Gallery
at Fort Hayes. ROY is also currently organizing four solo shows at the main branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library in 2013. On top of that, ROY has number of fundraising events, community programs, and sponsorships of other activities, throughout the year.
What kind of events are usually organized?
The typical ROY event is a two person art exhibition that runs over the course of the month in ROY’s Short North location. There are also a number of fundraising events which run the gamut from silent auctions to costume parties. ROY also facilitates a number of community-driven events, like a recent 200 Tiles project to commemorate Columbus’s bicentennial year. 200 artists each painted a tile, which, when put together, made a mosaic of Columbus’s skyline.
ROY also has a programming wing directed at artists freshly minted from art school, called EAS (Emerging Artist Series). Curated by ROY interns Elijah Funk
and Samantha Rehark
, EAS organizes lectures, artist talks, auctions, discussions, and exhibitions that complement ROY’s main programming.
Do you accept proposals/submissions?
Yes, ROY’s CFE for its main exhibition season goes out in the late-spring of each year. The CFE for ImageOhio, ROY’s exhibition of Ohio’s best photography, video, and new media art, goes out in the late-summer of each year. Follow ROY’s website, Facebook, and Twitter for more opportunities throughout the year.
What is your artistic/curatorial approach?
Because ROY determines its schedule with the help of different jurors each year, it’s hard to say that ROY has one monolithic standard or aesthetic that it is looking for. The main through-line in ROY’s exhibitions is a level of quality and vetting–an imprimatur that assures the selected artists are serious, and worth looking at. That being said, once selected, the artists have 100% freedom to decide what the are going to exhibit. ROY is not interested in generating revenue through sales, so the artwork may be as experimental or challenging as the artists wishes.
What’s working? What’s not working?
A non-profit’s constant battle is finding a consistent revenue stream. The main impediment to ROY fulfilling its mission statement to the fullest is the lack of backing from prominent arts patrons. Relying on state grants, fundraising schemes, and members fees requires time and effort that can detract from the gallery’s raison d’être. This is especially true in the case of member contributions, which does not seem sustainable, and creates an exclusionary barrier for some otherwise worthy artists. That is what’s not working. What is working is ROY’s openness to the community, and its laissez-faire approach to the content of its exhibitions, which gives artists a carte blanche to try something they wouldn’t otherwise.
What kind of role do you hope to play in your local art scene or community?
ROY hopes to be the cornerstone in Columbus for young artists making the transition from college or graduate school to the life of a professional artist. ROY is often the last check-mark up-and-coming artists complete in Columbus before heading off to bigger and better things.
What idea are you most excited about for the future?
ROY is in the process of updating itself to meet the demands of the contemporary art world–purchasing projectors, monitors, computers, etc., that will allow it to exhibit the artwork that is being made today by young artists who are engaging the Internet and New Media as the overarching subject of their work.m Updating the organizational apparatus, pulling in artists from across the world, and making the gallery ever more open to the public, are areas ROY is excited to tackle in the near future.