Alright – so today we’ve got the honor of introducing you to Charlotte Russell . We think you’ll enjoy our conversation, we’ve shared it below.
Charlotte, appreciate you joining us today. Has Covid resulted in any major changes to your business model?
COVID provided an unexpected opportunity for me to finally realize my dream of opening a contemporary art gallery. During graduate school at San Francisco Art Institute where I pursued an MA in Exhibition and Museum Studies, I started to write a business plan for a contemporary art gallery. Two kids and a move from San Francisco to Raleigh later, I was still writing that same business plan without any real push to turn what was on paper into reality. When the pandemic hit, I was offered the opportunity to open a pop-up gallery space in Raleigh’s busiest upscale shopping area, what is now called the Village District. The catch was I had four weeks to open. It was the push I needed to make my dream happen.
Great, appreciate you sharing that with us. Before we ask you to share more of your insights, can you take a moment to introduce yourself and how you got to where you are today to our readers
Having art collector parents shaped my love of art from an early age. We would travel around the world looking at art in museums and galleries. I connected with the process of discovering, viewing, and learning about new artists and pieces. I knew that I wanted to spend my life seeing interesting art. I studied Art History at the University of Virginia and received my MA in Exhibition and Museum Studies at SFAI in San Francisco, CA, where I am from originally. In San Francisco, I worked at various galleries and nonprofit art organizations in every role possible trying to find the perfect fit. When my husband was offered a new job in Raleigh, NC, we moved with two weeks notice with my daughter (then 2) and golden retriever in two. I instantly saw a void in art scene for more contemporary and concept-based artwork. In 2020, I was given an amazing opportunity to open a pop-up gallery space in the Village District in Raleigh, one of the top retail destinations in the area. I had four weeks to open and I just did it! I exhibit emerging, female, and underrepresented artists with a focus on process and concept driven work. I was offered another shorter term lease and moved my gallery to the Five Points District in Raleigh in the Fall of 2021. That lease just ended and I am shifting my exhibition programming online at charlotterussellcontemporary.com in addition to continuing curatorial projects around the Triangle.
We’d love to hear a story of resilience from your journey.
Prior to opening Charlotte Russell Contemporary, I would never have described myself as a resilient person. I am a planner. I am a list maker. I do not like to jump into the unknown and like to stay in what feels comfortable. I spent over a decade writing out a business plan for an art gallery that showcased emerging artists and artists with developmental disabilities. Since I love to over plan, I do not think I would have ever opened my gallery if I had not been given the opportunity to open a pop-up gallery space during the Pandemic. Having to open a gallery space in four weeks with my son (then 2) in tow -his preschool was shut down due to COVID for months- made me finally stop over thinking and just make it happen. Taking a chance on myself shined a light on how resilient I can be when I need to.
How about pivoting – can you share the story of a time you’ve had to pivot?
Right now I am pivoting my gallery online while looking for new retail space. I love the in-person connection of talking about artwork and I am trying to figure out how to continue that connection virtually. Exhibiting art, writing about art, and finding great art are my strengths and I just need to figure out how to translate that digitally.
- Website: https://charlotterussellcontemporary.com/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/charlotterussellcontemporary/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CharlotteRussellContemporary/
- Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/charlottemrussell
Abby Warner Photo