VK Gallery is a fine art and contemporary craft gallery based in the riverside town of St Ives in beautiful Cambridgeshire. Opened in 2014 by Victoria Mudge, it works with new and established artists and craftspeople to showcase a variety of work , alongside a regular programme of exhibitions.
Victoria honed her skills working at Smiths Row and Kettle’s Yard in Cambridge and as Manager of Cambridge Contemporary Art and Crafts and now runs the gallery alongside her assistants Jen, Laura and Sue.
Hey there Victoria, thanks so much for being my first interviewee! You have worked at a number of contemporary galleries in the past, what gave you the idea to set up on your own?
I had wanted to run/own my own gallery for a long time prior to finding the courage to do it. With the experience gained at my previous work within the Arts sector, and a huge amount of encouragement and support from my family, I opened VK, taking what I feel are the good bits of all the other galleries I've worked at with me to make VK the success it is today. It's still a young business (5yrs old in Sept) so we're still learning, but I think we've found our niche and the support from other local businesses and customers in and around St Ives has been fundamental to this. I feel grateful every day for their continued support.
How do you go about identifying new artists to show in the gallery?
Social media plays a major role nowadays and we are seeking new artists on a (almost) daily basis. We also visit Trade Fairs (BCTF) and others fairs (AAF, New Designers and Top Drawer) open to the public, as well as visiting Artists' studios, all as often as possible.
Any useful advice to someone starting out who is thinking about approaching galleries?
Before you contact any Gallery, please do your research. Unfortunately, we don't have time for Artists to pop in unannounced with their portfolio. It is best to phone or email them with a small selection of images of your work, along with some information about yourself. Then an appointment can be made. Do however keep in mind that many Galleries show work from Artists who live all over the UK, so it is unlikely you will ever meet the staff in person..!
Also, don't just rely on social media as your only advertising/marketing outlook as it can look a little on the amateur side. A website is a must as it shows a Gallery and/or customers your whole collection. Do check your website is up-to-date regularly and if you choose to display prices, please keep them to the same as the galleries you exhibit with. It's only fair!
Above: The Inn, by Marc Brown
If you had £200 to spend on something from the gallery for yourself, what would you choose?
We had a chat about this as a team and we'd probably either pay the first instalment of one of Marc Brown's paintings (see above for his piece The Inn which is part of our current Coastal Show on until 29 June 2019) or buy an Emily-Kriste Wilcox ceramic vessel.
Thanks for your wise words of advice Victoria! You can find VK Gallery online at www.vkgallery.co.uk and on Instgram at @vk_gallery or you can pop in and see them in person at 18a, Bridge Street, St Ives, Cambridgeshire, PE27 5EG