The Front, an artist-run collective and not-for-profit gallery, fosters the development of contemporary art in the city of New Orleans through innovative exhibitions, lectures, screenings, performances, and other arts programming, all of which are free and open to the public. Founded by artists in 2008 amidst the post-Katrina resurgence of New Orleans and committed to a spirit of grassroots DIY determinism, The Front cultivates new and experimental work, in particular from emerging artists, but also from nationally and internationally known artists.
The Front has 18 membership slots. Due to our show schedule, memberships typically last about 18 - 24 months.
Members pay dues every month to be a part of The Front. These dues go toward the rent, utilities, and buying basic supplies for the day-to-day operations of the gallery.
At the end of a membership cycle some members may choose to leave the gallery, in which case we put out an Open Call for new members. This call is posted on our site, arts listings sites, and Facebook as well as on our email blast; it is advertised via flyers at our openings at least 1-2 months in advance; and spread by word of mouth, email, and any way we can get the word out as broadly as possible. Artists are invited to apply for membership by submitting images, a letter of intent, and references. Current members view the applications, discuss them as a group, and conduct interviews with finalists before final voting. When choosing new members we look for the following: great artists with initiative and discipline, a commitment to working collectively with a sense of individual responsibility. Because we are assembling a group of people, we look for diverse viewpoints and a range of media among members.
The Front operates collectively. This means that all members have equal voices. Issues are discussed and debated openly. In cases without a natural consensus, we vote and go with the majority decision.
Getting Things Done:
Our members run every aspect of The Front from putting on shows to answering emails to cleaning the bathroom. Members take on specific jobs, tasks, and roles within the group. We have a president who moderates our meetings, a secretary who takes notes, a treasurer who keeps track of our finances, a person who mows and maintains our yard, a person who buys drinks for the receptions each month, a person who sends out info to the press each month, a person who photographs all of our shows, a person who runs our website. We have a grant committee, a lecture committee, and on and on. Everything is completely on a volunteer basis. No one gets paid for his or her work. The Front doesn't have a boss, or a director, or anyone in any paid position. Everything gets done thanks to the hard work and commitment of the members.
How Shows Are Chosen:
The Front has 4 rooms. Over the course of 1 lease cycle each of the 14 members gets access to each of the rooms once. Members can spread out their shows one room at a time over the course of the year or gang up 2, or 3, or even all 4 rooms in one month. During their allotted months members can show whatever they want: their own work, invite in another artist, curate a group show, anything! The group has no say in what each individual member shows. This allows for a diverse mix of shows that might not be possible with group curation. We are committed to showing fresh work free from administrative hurdles.
Exhibiting artists are welcome to arrange sales with interested buyers, and artists keep 100% of any sales made as a result of showing at The Front unless an alternative arrangement is made with the member responsible for bringing in the show. The Front doesn't take any commission or deal with sales in any way other than helping interested buyers get in touch with the artist they wish to purchase work from. We are able to operate in this way thanks to the fact that the members pay dues to keep the space open. Therefore, we need not rely on sales to survive, and we can focus instead of showing the best work we can show, even if it's work that doesn't sell. Visiting Artists sign contracts covering the duration of their show at The Front and permission to use installation views of shows on our website, in PR, and in our catalogs.
If you're Interested in showing at The Front:
Consider applying to be a member. Check our website or talk to a member to find out when our next membership cycle will be coming up and when we might be accepting applications. Or, engage directly with one of our members who you think might be interested in your work. For example, if you're a painter, maybe get to know one of our members who is a painter and approach them about possibly bringing you in to show. If you don't know any of our members and are unable to get to know any of us, you can send a proposal with some images and a description of what you think you'd like to show to our gallery email, firstname.lastname@example.org. Your email will then be forwarded to the members.