Modern Fuel plans ahead

Artist-run organization excited for future at Tett Centre

The Modern Fuel space, along with seven other organizations, runs in the Tett Centre.
The Modern Fuel space, along with seven other organizations, runs in the Tett Centre.

Modern Fuel will use their relocation to the Tett Centre as an opportunity for expansion and accessibility.

The artist-run centre moved from their initial location on Queen St. to the Tett Centre last month and have since been adjusting to the new space, according to Kevin Rodgers, Modern Fuel’s artistic director.

“The relocation itself was done rather quickly over the holidays, but the preparation was long in planning,” Rodgers told the Journalvia email. “While we’ve been in the new space since early January, there is still some settling in.”

There’s been a large improvement in terms of accessibility — there’s no second floor to the space, eliminating stairs as an issue — which allows for a wider audience, he said.

Other opportunities come from the gallery’s proximity to other organizations and the potential for partnerships, he added.

The Tett Centre is also occupied by The Kingston Handloom Weavers and Spinners, The Kingston Potters’ Guild, Theatre Kingston, Kingston School of Dance, Kingston Arts Council, Joe’s M.I.L.L. and the Kingston Lapidary and Mineral Club.

A pleasant change for the space has been the variety of people that visit the gallery as a result of its convenient location, according to Rodgers.

“When we were on Queen Street, our visitors were often gallery members, or artists who heard about our space who were travelling through,” Rodgers said. “There were tourists on occasion, but the space wasn’t conducive to a lot of walk-in traffic.

“It is quite different now at the Tett, where we have seen a significant increase in attendance. One of the great things about the new location is seeing people from other organizations in the halls.”

In terms of the galleries, the space provides for ample room for employees to work and for artists to exhibit their work.

“The galleries themselves are slightly larger and it will be exciting to see how the artists work with them,” Rodgers said.

Since the gallery has a paying membership — mostly comprised of artists — it was easier for many members to drop by the Queen St. location, since they lived in the downtown core.

One of the challenges of the relocation is bringing that membership to the new space and making sure that people want to make the trek to the Tett, Rodgers said.

The biggest challenge Modern Fuel has faced so far with the relocation is maintaining the consistency of the programs that they offer, Rodgers said.

“The greatest difficulty faced by the change was making sure our programming and mandate remains solid,” he said. “That it’s actually strengthened by this move <-> that our programming resumed on time, that the galleries and lighting were ready, that we were prepared.”

The director hopes to expand audiences through outreach programs and collaborations with other Tett Centre tenants.

“Our outreach programs will be reflective of the new audiences resulting from the move,” Rodgers said.

“We will strengthen our educational programs and continue to be a resource centre for artists and contemporary art.”

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