1+1=1 Gallery began in 2012 as a pop-up gallery down the street from our present address. Tim and I were planning on having the gallery for one month, as a place to show his furniture and my artwork. We loved being sandwiched between the Turman Larison Contemporary gallery and the Painted Pot. But we knew it was a temporary home and sure enough the building sold after we’d been there for almost a year.
We found a new, incredible space on the most happenin’ block in downtown Helena –– 434 North Last Chance Gulch. With the help of many friends and volunteers, and a month of sweat and elbow grease, we renovated the very fragrant(!) space and had our grand re-opening in September of 2014.
CUSTOMERS ARE FAMILY
We haven’t looked back since — and we plan to be around for a long time. Helenans and out-of-towners alike have supported us beyond our dreams. We absolutely love what we’re doing these days.
Tim and I truly appreciate our customers, artists and community. We have the perspective of gallery owners, working artists and art collectors because we live all three of those roles.
1+1=1 is not just a fine art gallery. We are a gathering spot. A warm, welcoming space where visitors feel included no matter how much or little they know about art. A place where children and adults practice creative expression in classes and art gatherings; a place where new artists have a chance to be exhibited and learn to work with galleries and promote themselves professionally. And lastly, a place where locals can listen to experimental music and jazz performances in an intimate atmosphere.
From the first exhibit in our new space, Ecology of the Unconscious, we have continued expanding what we exhibit and what we offer. We’ve added more space, lots more lights, many dozens of pedestals and shelves. We have large group exhibitions in our main Gallery, with the two front windows exhibiting small (what we call mini-exhibits) by one or two artists. We represent a fluctuating number of artists from 20 to 30 or so. Our exhibitions rotate every 4 to 5 weeks, so there is almost always something new to see!
We love seeing people of all ages come in to enjoy art and culture. It’s something anyone can do. You don’t have to have an art history degree or an artistic background. You just have to have an open mind. Lots of children come in, either with their parents or on field trips from school, including preschoolers. I like their lack of cynicism and uninhibited responses to whatever exhibit they see.
EDUCATION AND FUN
Whenever we open a new exhibition, we have an opening reception or open house and invite everyone to participate. Artists’ talks are casual and easy to understand. These openings truly are for any age, too! Often our artists are asked profound questions by the youngest visitors. Meeting the artists helps anyone make a connection between the art on the walls and the real person behind the art. Maybe you or your children will be inspired in some way. Sign up to get invitations to our exhibit opening receptions.
Art gatherings, art demos and creativity sesh’s are one of the best things about 1+1=1 Gallery. We offer adult studio workshops in our beautiful classroom behind the gallery, as well as summer and after-school creativity studios for kids. Maureen also does informal one-on-ones with kids too young for her classes. Every spring, we mount a wonderful exhibit completely planned, organized and curated by the youth from our summer creativity sessions. The proceeds from these Young Voices exhibits go to charities of the kids’ choice. Contact us to get on our list for class information.
First Fridays in Historic Downtown Helena give singles, couples and families a fun date night activity. There are many businesses open on these first Fridays of each month all year long. Sometimes we have free hands-on art activities in the studio behind the gallery. We often team up with our neighbors with sidewalk cantinas, live music, great food and of course, wonderful things to see. We’ve had tango and salsa music, celtic, folk and country music at our First Fridays. Don’t miss them! Everything is free and what better way to get to know your community!
Sound Gallery is a series of free jazz, spoken word and new-music performances in our space. The acoustics are amazing. The space is small. Performances are intimate. No stage. Just a small audience and incredibly talented musicians, poets and performers. Because the concerts are so accessible, they are a wonderful way to introduce young people to new music!
1+1=1 Gallery’s main mission is to strengthen the arts community of Helena and to support artists. We do this by expanding beyond the walls of our gallery into the neighborhood. By providing emerging and new artists a place to exhibit and learn about working with galleries, promote their art and deepen their connection to their collectors and appreciators. By representing mid-career and established artists who want to be part of an unpretentious, friendly and curious gallery. By having a ranges of art styles and prices from affordable to high end. There is something for everyone here — even if you are not buying you can appreciate!
Stop in when you can; visit us on First Fridays when most downtown businesses stay open til 8pm; attend one of our art openings and meet like-minded folks; sign up for one of Maureen’s creativity sesh’s; or make a reservation for one of our free Sound Gallery concerts. You’ll be glad you did!