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Meet Susan Bridges of Whitespace Gallery in Inman Park

Today we’d like to introduce you to Susan Bridges.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Susan. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I opened Whitespace gallery in 2006 after spending 15 years curating pop-up art shows in raw industrial spaces in Atlanta, Georgia.

Today, the gallery represents close to 50 national and international artists and has garnered attention from the American Institute of Architects (AIA), local NPR affiliate WABE, Atlanta Magazine and Creative Loafing. Whitespace artists have shown nationally and internationally at the Smithsonian Institute, Venice Biennale, Art Basel, Miami and at group shows in Brazil, Spain, Germany, Greece, the United Kingdom, Italy, Croatia, and Poland.

As an Atlanta native, I was always interested in art and the creative process and how it impacted the community. I worked in advertising in the 1960s and 70s and left the industry to raise a family.

I leaped into the art world by creating a holiday show with gifts made by local artists and hosted the show in my historic Victorian home. I then expanded my focus to contemporary art installations hosted in raw industrial spaces including churches, U-Haul rental facilities, shipping containers, and an underground parking garage.

When Atlanta real-estate boomed in the early 2000s, many of my favorite spaces were converted to stores and condos, and I decided to renovate my own space – the 1890s carriage house in the backyard of my home. I selected the acclaimed architecture firm BLDGS to create a space that would merge the old with the new and create a welcoming environment to showcase contemporary art.

Then, I completed a second renovation of my cellar to open Whitespec – a space that nurtures young talent, serving as a project space for BFA and MFA students to hold graduate shows. In addition, I use the main level of my house as additional gallery space. Designers who frequent the gallery love the idea of contextualizing non-decorative art.

Most recently, I have expanded into a third space to create ShedSpace, which is home to Katie Barringer’s Cover Books, which is a uniquely curated bookstore specializing in art, design and architecture books.

I love my artists and the gallery! We are always cooking up something fun to engage people and make contemporary art accessible to everyone, especially those who think they don’t know a lot about art.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Starting and running a small business is never smooth! I had to define the kind of art I wanted to present as well as learn accounting and IT. Then, there is the challenge of running a business out of my house. There is little to no work/life balance.

My guest rooms are a steady rotation of artists who are installing their shows, visitors walk in off the street at all times to see what’s going on in the space, and then there are opossums. Running a small business is not for the faint of heart. What keeps me going is the fact that I really love what I do and believe that my tiny little contribution is changing the world.

Please tell us about Whitespace Gallery.
Whitespace is a contemporary gallery that seeks to foster an immersive environment of free-expression, intimacy, and dialogue. The gallery has housed numerous exhibitions across all mediums promoting artistic innovation and inquiries into the relationships that define who we are, both collectively and as individuals. As a respected institution in Atlanta’s art community, Whitespace and the artists it houses continue to inspire all who attend through thoughtful examinations of the world around us, allowing viewers a new mode of seeing beyond meaning.

We are most proud of the effort to continually evolve and present sophisticated and challenging art in the South. Sometimes I see exhibits in New York, Los Angeles, London and Houston and think, “Yeah, whitespace artists are just as good if not better”.

Whitespace is truly unique. The setting is classic and contemporary, but people are also welcome to wander around the garden or have a drink on the front porch. At the same time, we present really thoughtful contemporary art that makes you think. We have somehow cultivated an environment where the extremes complement each other versus clashing, and I guess that’s kind of who I am as well. My daughter describes me as quintessentially southern with a mix of rock and roll.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
Spending time with my grandparents who owned a tobacco farm.

Staying up with the old guys who cured the tobacco and listening to their stories. It was a very heady experience, I can still remember the sweet smell of the leaves.

Pricing:

  • In general, artwork can range from $200 to $20,000.00

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: VoyageATL is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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