Within 45 minutes of meeting, South Coast artists Gitte Backhausen and Kerry Bruce agreed to join forces and open an artist-run fine art gallery in Gerringong.
Their snap decision has led to them winning this year’s New Tourism Business Award at the Sydney Surrounds South and Southern NSW Regional Tourism Awards.
“We walked into the same premises, at different times on the same day, with the same idea,” says Kerry.
“We got together later that day, and it was a meeting of minds.”
The Fern Street Gallery opened six weeks later, and the gamble has paid off.
“Our feedback and sales have been incredible,” says Gitte.
The concept they had both come up with was for artists to work together cooperatively to run the gallery, thus reducing costs and giving buyers a chance to develop a relationship with the artists during their visit.
There are nine resident artists, including Kerry and Gitte as the Gallery’s Directors, who exhibit their work in the back room of the gallery all year round, and take turns to have solo exhibitions in the front space.
“The front space is also rented out to visiting artists, and we’ve already got some of them trying to rebook,” says Kerry.
“We also have a growing list of repeat customers, and people who love coming in to see what is on show.”
The Gallery also offers a workshop space for artists to utilise for classes.
“We’ve set the Gallery up with a focus on helping artists to grow their own careers,” says Gitte.
Kerry and Gitte are keen to be part of the revitalisation of the Gerringong shopping centre.
“We’ve had good support from all the businesses in town, and hope they in turn can benefit from us attracting people to visit,” says Gitte.
Open Thursdays to Sundays, at a minimum, depending on the exhibition.