Shoebox Art Gallery: Vancouver’s Little Gallery on Wheels

It is little. It’s mobile. He brings art wherever he goes.

Thanks to Sara Quine, residents will soon be able to purchase artwork in parking lots, fields and other off-grid locations in and around Vancouver.

The Shoebox Art Gallery is its new approach to the mobile business model; in this case, it’s about taking something that’s very much associated with physical spaces, putting it on wheels, and pulling it to markets, off-grid events, and brewpubs everywhere.

Quine, who spent years working in the film industry as a set buyer, came up with the idea three years ago. Like many others, the pandemic has given her a moment to step back from her 60-hour-a-week job and consider taking the concept of a small mobile gallery and trying it out.

She saved up, bought a 16ft by 7ft trailer and remodeled it with her dad. This includes custom pegboards she drilled herself, cabinetry and lighting (the pair have a history of similar projects). She has also taken small business courses at BCIT.

What kind of art will be in the gallery on wheels?

True to the theme of “small”, Quine’s Gallery on Wheels will focus on art under 11 inches by 17 inches; it’s also part of his goal to bring the art to more people. By keeping sizes smaller, it keeps costs down and caters to people living in small places, as is often the case with renters in Vancouver.

And instead of selling her own work (she dabbles, but that’s all), she wants to bring new artists to people.

“My goal with the Shoebox Art Gallery is to create greater visibility for BC artists,” she says, noting that emerging artists face significant underrepresentation.

“I do my best to really get to know the artist I represent,” she adds. “I really want it to be a forward artist.”

Quine’s hope is that if people find a piece they like at the gallery, she can connect them to that artist’s portfolio of work.

This also means that it will focus on prints; one of the people who have helped her along the way is artist Jeff Wilson. Quine explains that Wilson paints originals on a large scale, but is able to earn a steady income selling smaller prints. The plan is to help more artists earn this way.

Although she’s excited about the new venture, she says it’s not as easy as some might expect.

“The problem with mobile retail in Vancouver is that there are still a lot of restrictions and regulations that are not in place,” says Quine, noting that she has received a lot of help from the Vancouver Fashion Truck in this department. “I really hope that between me and the Fashion Truck and other mobile companies that are popping up, we can change that.”

In addition to showing up at events and venues with the gallery and art shop (she’ll also have art cards and other small items), Quine rents the Shoebox Gallery (with her as a member Staff).

“You can rent the gallery to do your own solo or collaborative exhibitions,” she says.

The Shoebox Gallery already has a show scheduled: On September 2 from 5-9 p.m. and September 3-4 from 12-8 p.m., the trailer will be set up at Container Brewing, featuring a DJ and some of the artists Quine represents. .

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