Winter is here, which means that snow and long days cooped up inside with nothing to do are, too. To help stave off the grumpiness of this season, chilly temperatures, and cabin fever, we’re starting “Beyond the Brush,” a series of profiles introducing you to the many unique art galleries around New Hampshire.
For our latest profile, check out 3S Artspace in Portsmouth. We spoke to Executive Director Beth Falconer to learn more about the curiosity, creativity and community offered at this nonprofit contemporary arts organization. Read on to learn all about why they believe that art has the power to transform individual lives, bridge divergent perspectives, and establish meaningful connections between and across communities.
Tell us about the history of your gallery.
Beth: “3S Artspace (including the gallery) opened its doors to the public in 2015 and has evolved from a creative start-up to an essential player in the New Hampshire Seacoast’s arts and entertainment scene. Everything we do at 3S is guided by our vision that by creating a space for the intersection of art and contemporary issues, we can inspire each other to stay curious, foster empathy and fuel creativity. The gallery at 3S Artspace is an incubator of ideas, facilitator of original content, and is committed to presenting a diverse representation of contemporary visual artists. Each year, we present exhibitions that highlight unprecedented innovation across disciplines, celebrate artistic excellence, encourage lively discourse, and foster an unwavering appreciation for the vital role that art plays in our community.”
What makes your gallery special or different?
Beth: “We believe that art is for everyone. We strive to make art accessible and inclusive– our exhibits at 3S are always free and open to the public, and can even be viewed virtually at www.galleryat3s.org. Through the lens of contemporary arts experiences, we invite divergent perspectives and encourage lively discourse centered around issues of today. Exhibiting artists are regularly in attendance at our opening receptions for each exhibit, giving attendees an opportunity to connect with the artists and hear from them directly. Our 25 foot ceilings and wall of bay windows are also unique 3S features within the Seacoast’s bustling art scene.”
What’s the story behind the name of your gallery?
Beth: “The name of the gallery at 3S Artspace is exactly that– straightforward and to the point! It’s one of the spaces that makes up 3S Artspace, along with the Performance Space and Restaurant. Not only do we believe art is for everyone, we also believe art should be everywhere like our lobby area that houses an additional art gallery, the Lobby Gallery, that features its own small-scale art exhibitions.”
What are you best known for?
Beth: “3S is best known for installation work or exhibiting an artist’s full, comprehensive series. We utilize our space to its fullest advantage and hope that we never become synonymous with one medium or style, but rather are known as a place that celebrates contemporary artists and the ever-changing world we live in.”
Tell us about your artists. What styles of art do you feature? Any particular disciplines?
Beth: “We are committed to contemporary art and support multiple mediums, including film and video installations. We have hosted site-specific installations that have demonstrated the threat of sea level rise as well as more abstract, participatory installations. While we particularly appreciate art that intersects with contemporary issues and provides a platform for community conversation, we also embrace comprehensive bodies of work that speak to the viewer in more subtle ways.”
Do you have any exciting exhibits planned for 2022? Any other events?
Beth: “We might be a tad biased, but we think all 3S exhibits are exciting! Now through March 20th, photography by Henry Horenstein is on exhibit in the gallery, featuring work from three of his series (Speedway72, Blitto Underground, and La Louisiane) under the title, Where Everybody is Somebody. Many of these stills have never been shown before and visitors will have a chance to meet with the artist both at the opening reception on January 8, and at the screening of Henry’s film, Blitto Underground, held in our Performance Space on February 4. The screening is a great example of the supplemental arts programming we offer that allows visitors to interact with an artist in a meaningful way. What’s beyond that? We have our Gallery Call for the 2022-23 season going out in just a few days and are eager as ever to shape the exhibit season. We’ll also be making a call for emerging designers to compete in the 2022 Project Upcycle sustainable fashion design challenge. This fast-paced competition takes place in the gallery and then designs hit the runway in the Performance Space in a celebration to reveal this year’s winner.”
What keeps you passionate about the arts?
Beth: “The arts, and artists themselves, are a never-ending source of inspiration. Meeting individuals with the vision and discipline it takes to truly investigate and express a concept through a body of work is a very real privilege. Getting to share this work with the public, in a gallery that still remains free of charge and accessible to all, is an incredible gift.”
How can people best support you right now?
Beth: “As a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, we rely on the support of our community to fulfill our mission of supporting artists and audiences in meaningful and joyful ways. While 2021 was another year of uncertainty and change, it was also a year of remarkable connection and growth. Our community’s vote of confidence was felt every step of the way through financial contributions, attendance at events, and shout-outs on social media. People can support 3S Artspace by purchasing art, attending events, making a donation, or by becoming a Member of 3S Artspace.”