Tuesday, November 28, 2023
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Feature: The LAKE Gallery’s Birthday

The LAKE Gallery is, if you’ve missed it, a gorgeous new(ish) space over in West Kirby dedicated to sharing and selling the work of local artists. Led by the familiar faces of Clare Flinn, Helen Smith and Marianthi Lainas.

They’ve had busy first year, but one that has, at least to the outside eye, gone exceedingly smoothly.

It’s easy enough to run through their achievements, and list artists who’ve exhibited there (sixty, by the way, thanks to their effective and tidily produced exhibition programme). But, it’s probably more important to celebrate what they’ve brought to the table for artists.

Most artists on Merseyside have an arm to their practice which should, or could, involve selling work. For many, it makes them a good income, for others, the process of finding space to sell work takes more time than making it.

We receive dozens of emails each week from artists, and potential buyers, looking for space to buy and sell work. We point them to a host of fabulous galleries, including the LAKE Gallery, but until Clare, Helen, and Marianthi opened these doors twelve months ago, the list of spaces we shared was dwindling, rather than growing.

The need for more galleries like this on Merseyside is blindingly obvious, but the answer isn’t simple. Understanding the needs of artists is paramount to creating a gallery that works. As each of the fabulous artists in charge of this gallery proves.

These exhibitions don’t last a weekend.  They don’t flash past. They sit in place for five weeks, with dedicated curation on hand to make sure they’re displayed along purpose-made gallery walls, and impeccable lighting (I assume Helen Smith’s bold glass work was a key test subject during that particular installation).

The team is permanently on hand with a welcoming smile when you enter the space, offering advice to buyers, and support to artists. The latter being particularly important.

As I mentioned earlier, the three gallery managers are artists themselves. They’ve sat in galleries, waiting for audiences in front of their own work, not knowing how to approach a sale. So they know how important that support is to artists, but they also know how important it is to properly understand the work they’re sharing, both for buyers and their general audiences who are just in for the show.

Over the next twelve months, there is a busy programme of exhibitions changing every five weeks, as well as a longer open exhibition from 30th November to 20th January (submissions are open now via their website – or pop in).

In the nearer future, the last of their three exhibitions in Independents Biennial 2023, Unearthed, is open until 14th September. On 7th October the LAKE Gallery will be celebrating their first birthday, having achieved, quite neatly, everything they set out to.

The LAKE Gallery is open Thursday – Saturday, 10am-4pm

52 Grange Road, West Kirby, CH48 4EF

Words, Patrick Kirk-Smith