the Early Days...
from "Gallery Tripping: business for art's sake in Haymarket Square"
first, they approached the merchants in the area with some trepidation. “We
had never done anything like this before,” Schwartz recalls. “We
were so green. We went to places and asked, ‘Can you give us anything?’ Now
it’s everybody’s pet project.”
Haymarket Square area has its peculiar charms – dozens of fresh fish
and meat markets, scores of fruit and vegetable stands, assorted wholesale
and retail candy outlets – all of which lend a distinctive aroma to the
neighborhood. Yet despite the gustatory delights the Haymarket provides, the
neighborhood has lacked – how can I put it? – a certain aesthetic
now. Sarah Schwartz, 25, and Patricia Miller, 24, have decided to add a little
art to the aromatic ambiance of the Haymarket Square. These ambitious and
ebullient young artists have formed a nonprofit organization called Randolph
Inc. The gallery, located at 853 W. Randolph, opens Friday night, displaying
the work of Robert Richter, who paints on 6-foot by 12-foot slabs of wood.
expect a crowd of snobbish aesthetes at this opening. Schwartz and Miller
have established the gallery to serve the neighborhood, and it’s
the neighborhood folks who are the gallery’s most important patrons.
Rather than financing the gallery solely through membership fees, and thus
limiting the audience,
the two young women set out to cultivate community interest. And they succeeded.
With a combination of irresistible charm and unswerving dedication, Schwartz
and Miller have garnered the moral and financial support of numerous Haymarket
area businesses. What they’ve done is indeed remarkable; not only are
they bringing art into what seems an unlikely environment, but they’ve
also tapped the spirit of a community whose interests seem strictly commercial.
feel this is more of a community than any neighborhood I’ve been in,” says
Miller. A few fellow artists warned Schwartz and Miller that the businesses
might not be receptive to their project, but the response has been overwhelmingly
enthusiastic. New Management, a local real estate firm, has allowed Schwartz
and Miller to use the gallery space rent free for one year. Other neighborhood
firms have donated electrical supplies, dry wall, office equipment, stationery – and
the list goes on. “The attitude of the businesses,” says Miller, “is
wonderful. All the businesses have been here for years. They are mostly family
owned. They have been like big brothers to us.”
Reader, July 20, 1979