Flood Plain, New Non-Profit Gallery, Opens on Cherokee Street

Oct 16, 2017 at 6:00 am
click to enlarge From left, Liz Wolfson, Trina Van Ryn, Amelia-Colette Jones
From left, Liz Wolfson, Trina Van Ryn, Amelia-Colette Jones

Flood Plain (3151 Cherokee Street, [email protected]) is a non-profit, non-commercial art gallery that opened last month in the former home of another non-profit, non-commercial art gallery — Fort Gondo, which thrived on Cherokee Street for fifteen years.

But while the three founders honor the space's lineage, they stress that they have a unique vision and distinctive goals for their project.

“It’s important to note that while we are obviously moving into a space that has a tremendous amount of history and we want to honor that history as best as we can … we are trying to do something new in the space,” says co-founder Liz Wolfson.

Wolfson says the idea behind the name Flood Plain is a regional perspective and outlook.

"We're really interested in providing an arena for artists to pursue projects that might not be able to find homes in other kinds of spaces," Wolfson says.

Wolfson, who is a graduate student, was introduced to Jones by Brigid Flynn of M.A.P.S. — Midwest Artist Project Services — who was aware that they were both interested in starting a gallery. As it turned out, the two had a mutual friend: Trina Van Ryn, who is a high school art teacher. Van Ryn and Jones had been neighbors several years ago, while Van Ryn and Wolfson had become friends while both being involved in the St. Louis art scene. Van Ryn, too, ended up becoming a part of their plans.

Then Wolfson ended up pursuing the Fort Gondo space.

“It’s a rare opportunity to have the ability to move into a space that’s kind of ready to go, and I think working on a gallery endeavor was something that all three of us had been interested in prior to this opportunity,” Wolfson says.

Van Ryn says she was relieved when she found out Wolfson was taking over the space because she says she didn’t want to see it sit empty.

“When [Fort Gondo] closed, I think it left a hole in the St. Louis art scene because it was really the best place to see experimental, local art and national artists,” Van Ryn says.

Moving toward regional collaborations, Van Ryn says the trio has already been in conversation with Rose Raft, an artist and musicians residency located in New Douglas, Illinois, with whom they hope to partner with.

“I think the space provides something really important for St. Louis artist,” Van Ryn says.

The gallery's main mission is to highlight local St. Louis artists and build partnerships with other spaces in the greater Midwestern region, Jones says.

“It’s a really lively, vital community and we’re really excited to be part of it,” Jones says.

Wolfson says the gallery is very dedicated to ideas about experimentation, aesthetic experimentation, creative experimentation and also social experimentation.

“We really see art as being both an individual creative process and experience, but also a very social one,” Wolfson says.

The first exhibition features Brandon Anschultz’s Time Won’t Give Me Time, which reflects on his experience growing up as a queer child in early 1980s. The opening reception is November 4, from 6 to 9 p.m.

For more information, visit their website.

click to enlarge Flood Plain, New Non-Profit Gallery, Opens on Cherokee Street
Brandon Anschultz, David (Flowers) (detail); 2017; appropriated image, printed mylar and pencil on Bristol.