Alison is the owner and art director for Open Mind Art Space, a new contemporary art gallery located in West Los Angeles. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Fine Arts from Loyola Marymount University in 2008, and has experience working in residential, industrial and office real estate management. Open Mind Art Space’s mission is to inspire and challenge the local Los Angeles community by providing a comfortable, engaging space for reflection and dialogue.
How did you come upon the space and what inspired you to start an art gallery?
After working in the corporate world for a while after graduating college, I was starting to feel like I needed more creative fulfillment in my career. My art mentor told me once that curating would be a good fit for me, which always stuck in the back of my mind. Although I didn’t have experience working in an art gallery before, I wanted to become my own boss and do something adventurous, so I decided to quit my job and start my own gallery!
I saw a vacant space for lease near my apartment that used to be an old video store and thought it would be a perfect place to set up shop. The space was a bit run-down and needed a complete overhaul, but it is now a beautiful space! Designed with a minimal Zen aesthetic in mind, I wanted to make it a simple and versatile space to accommodate other uses than just exhibiting art. Since the grand opening of Open Mind Art Space in early 2016, I have been enjoying life as a gallery owner and connecting with other artists and entrepreneurs.
What’s the most random thing you’ve hosted here?
I hosted a surprise marriage proposal at my space. The couple’s family and friends hid in the kitchen and parking lot, and came out to surprise the soon-to-be fiancee just before her boyfriend popped the question. It was really heartwarming to witness such a special event in my space!
What are some similarities between your art and venue management?
When managing my art and venue, the quality of my work and friendly professional service are my priority. I aim to create and curate art that is enjoyable for viewers, and to provide a clean and comfortable space for visitors and guests.
What do you do when you’re not managing this space?
When I’m not managing the space, I’m exploring Los Angeles for creative inspiration. I love visiting other art museums and galleries to admire beautiful artwork and discover new artists. Getting my space up and running has kept me busy for the past year and a half, but I’m planning to start up my art practice again very soon. I’m currently working on sketches of new sculptures and art installations to be featured at my gallery next year, which I’m really looking forward to!
What’s been your favorite project so far?
My favorite project so far has been organizing an annual exhibition to celebrate the opening of my art gallery every year. For Open Mind Art Space’s 1st Annual Anniversary exhibition, I invited all the artists that exhibited their work in the first year, to bring back some of their popular pieces or introduce their new work so viewers can see what they’ve been working on. It turned out to be a pretty cool mix of artwork! I’m looking forward to curating the anniversary exhibition every year and seeing the space fill up with more art by more new artists each time.
What are some of the benefits of listing and booking with Wrapal?
I love that it’s free to list on Wrapal, so it’s a stress-free way to earn some extra income. Their website is also super easy to use. And as a supporter of the arts, it’s rewarding to provide an affordable space for local filmmakers and photographers.
If you could be born at any time period and study under any artist in human history, who would it be, and why?
I would want to study under Georgia O’Keefe because I love her unique ability to see nature in an abstract way. I tend to want to paint objects or people exactly as I see them, so I think she could teach me a thing or two about how to tap into my imagination more.