Looking for the buzz

By Rhonda Dredge

Some galleries in the CBD are planning great events, such as viewings at the Sofitel Hotel, to celebrate reopening.

Others have continued their exhibition program, combining online with gallery viewings.

All are working slowly towards recapturing the buzz.

Sarah Scout Presents in Collins St is still dealing with the aftermath of Spring 1883.

The seventh annual art fair was forced out of the Windsor Hotel at the last minute because of the lockdown.

The gallery is still so upset about the impact of the art fair situation on their artists that they’ve kept the exhibits hanging.

Their current exhibition Spring would have occupied a suite at the Windsor in August but it’s still available for viewing.

“It was only open for two days,” gallery director Kate Barber said. Now it will be on view until summer.

The fair is usually an anarchic coming together of Melbourne’s art community in a prime position with galleries choosing intimate pieces that will look good propped up against basins and beds.

The organisers were forced to make some last-minute decisions about the fair. The previous one had been postponed and they didn’t want to repeat the experience.

“A new COVID regulation was introduced in a review of hotels,” Kate told CBD News.  “They were redefined as residences, and we couldn’t have people in the rooms. We moved it off-site instead.”

Galleries opened booths in their own spaces but then another lockdown was introduced, and they were only open for two days.

Kate predicts that all galleries will now use a blend of online presentations with on-site exhibitions. Clients have got used to being able to digitally walk through the spaces.

“Our clients now want the whole experience online,” she said.

Sara Scout openings have always had a buzz, and everyone is holding their breath for the next one. 

The lockdown, with its on-again off-again manner of restrictions, forced galleries into more sober meet-the-artist events rather than the traditional convivial openings that we all love. 

Both Sarah Scout Presents and Tolarno Galleries had Saturday afternoon sessions with bookings required. The focus was more on the art than the socialising.

Now everyone is ready for both! Kate puts the buzz (widely claimed in relation to the CBD but rarely actually fulfilled) down to visitors feeling like they’re at a “private party”.

“There’s always something happening in another room you’re not sure about,” she said •

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