Visual Art

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Brenda Scallon & Saundra Valencia
Artists and co-owners of Black Lab Gallery and Parlour (5208 Ballard Ave NW, 781-2392).
EVENT: Black Lab is celebrating its third anniversary.

Congratulations! Any advice for all the new galleries popping up around town? Brenda: "Persevere. Love what you do."

Saundra: "It has a lot to do with not laboring under the illusion that you're going to get rich. It's definitely not about money. It's a labor of love, and about community--and our community is artists. It's about sharing and providing a space. We're not Davidson Gallery or something like that, and we're not a nonprofit organization."

Brenda: "Well, we sort of are."

As in, no profit whatsoever. Saundra: "You have to be committed to what you're doing well beyond a financial idea, or else you won't last the year."

Do you have new plans for the future? Any new directions? It's exciting that you had that video installation by Brenda and Alicia [Berger]--will there be more of that? Saundra: "That's something we've always wanted to do. A lot of our time is just spent building--building the community, building the classes that I teach, building this room, that stage."

Brenda: "So the new focus will be the parlour, and the performance art aspect."

Saundra: "There's always the discrepancy about whether you're a real gallery if you serve coffee. How do you separate the real gallery? So we moved the gallery as far away from the coffee cart as we could. So, now are we a real gallery?"

Brenda: "That's what my installation was about. Is this a gallery? Is it art? I interviewed people about what they thought a gallery was. There were forms to fill out, and we posted them on the wall."

How do you feel about Ballard as an art community? Saundra: "I would love to see more galleries here. I've lived in Ballard for 15 years and I've seen it really change. Since we opened I've seen big changes. There was a lot of hubbub... it takes a while for the other parts to catch up, and some people can't last. You get all the attention, but you don't reap the rewards. That's the reason I'm still here--I'm tired of blazing trails for other people."

 

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