Campbell Baker is a gallerist with a plan. Her Galt Gallery will open on Main Street in Ashland in February. I caught up with Baker to discuss her plans for the gallery, her creative vision, and her choice of Ashland as a location for the space.
JG: There have been a lot of gallery closures in Ashland over the last number of years (Davis and Cline, Illahe Gallery). Why did you decide to open a space?
CB: When I moved to Ashland, I set out to find my place in the art scene here and slowly realized that as an outsider I couldn’t get anyone to look at my work, much less employ me in their gallery. When I finally got an interview with someone looking for a manager for his gallery, I suppose my name didn’t indicate my gender, and I was quickly turned away with words to the effect of “young women cannot sell art without using sexuality.” My anger swiftly turned into motivation and I began my journey to create a gallery space that is accessible to all artists, mediums and ideas.
JG: You've advertised in Portland as well as in Ashland for artists. What particular theme are you going for in the gallery?
CB: I guess you could say fluidity is the theme for Galt Gallery. Throughout the year the art and artists will rotate cohesively through different exhibitions. I will be hosting solo shows, shows focusing on particular mediums, a small works show, performance art, and so on. Change has been something I’ve grown to love and appreciate and I want Galt Gallery to be an ever-changing, evolving, art epicenter for both artists and buyers in the community.
JG: What brought you to Ashland?
CB: It is kind of a depressing "girl-loses-job" story. But the happy part is that I came to Ashland for Christmas in 2015 and fell in love. There were deer in the park, snow on the ground, and it was so charming. I then moved here in February of 2016 to try to pursue a career in the arts. It is less of what brought me to Ashland, but more what kept me here. I started bartending at Caldera Tap House and soon found the community I was searching for. It wasn’t in the arts but through my friendships made in the service industry, I found connections to the Ashland art scene.
JG: While Ashland has a great potential base of collectors in the tourist economy, a lot of locals seem to stay away because they don't have "thousands to spend." Is that a fallacious conclusion?
CB: It isn’t totally fallacious. Ashland has many galleries with a higher price point, and beautiful original pieces. I want to offer unique original art that is affordable at many price points. Our mission is to showcase talents of artists from near and far, and bring them together with an audience who is captivated and excited by their works. I want everyone to experience the feeling of connecting to a certain piece of art; whether it’s so unique you can’t look away, so familiar you feel at home, or something you’re drawn to without any explanation at all.
— Ashland resident Jeffrey Gillespie is a Daily Tidings columnist, arts reviewer and freelance writer. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.