Founded under the belief that the relationship between artist and art lover is an essential one, artistRun Gallery in Long Island City opened its doors on Dec. 1, offering a platform for artists to exhibit their creativity and admirers to enjoy displays right in their own backyards.
Painter and mixed-media artist Kaiser Kamal, one of three individuals who joined forces to establish the new gallery, said the site was chosen because “Long Island City, I believe, is going to be the next Soho. In the 1990s, Soho looked like Long Island City looks now.”
The goal of the gallery is to promote local as well as international talent. Plans call for year-round activities, including exchange exhibits with other galleries, art competitions, gallery talks, panel discussions and workshops.
Already on the agenda are several special events. First up, scheduled to run from Feb. 20 to March 2, is “The 1st Annual 10-Day Contemporary Art Show,” which is expected to feature “break-out talent by local emerging artists.”
Beginning March 6 and running through the 23rd will be part one of what is billed as “The 4th Annual Members Invitational,” presented in conjunction with the Art of Fashion Arts League. This exhibit will feature contemporary paintings and sculptures.
According to Kamal, he and his two partners, fellow painter and mixed-media artist Alam Tipu and ceramicist Bishwajit Chowdhury, all of whom are originally from Bangladesh but call Queens home, worked together for a long time, spending the past few years collaborating mostly on large-scale commissioned works.
Kamal said the impetus to open their own gallery came about because “we’ve been working in different galleries for over 10 years and we faced a lot of positive and negative stuff, a lot of ups and downs. It is much easier for artists with their own gallery.”
Located near several other galleries and museums, the new space is surrounded by a “very diverse population,” something that Kamal is excited about.
“It will be a big booster for the artists’ community,” he said.
Down the road artistRun Gallery has additional plans that involve the community, including special events for youngsters.
Since it opened, the gallery has had what Kamal called “a warm response from the neighborhood.”
Undoubtedly adding to the allure is the price of admission: It’s free.
To help make ends meet, Kamal said the gallery charges the artists commissions on the sale of their work, estimating that 95 percent of the art on display will be available for purchase.
And, he said, “We have a printing studio that is our bread and butter.”
But it is the gallery that seems to be Kamal’s pride and joy. “It’s going to be for the artists and we’d like to have people come and enjoy the art,” he said.