A unique sort of gallery made its debut in Edgartown last month, and it’s already created a good deal of buzz on the Island. The pop-up Winter Street Gallery is dedicated to showcasing contemporary art — both by internationally recognized artists (some deceased) and rising stars of the art world.
“I think there’s an appetite here for what we’re doing,” says co-owner George Newall, a NYC transplant with extensive gallery experience. “There’s something novel about the idea of showing cutting-edge and important 20th century works to the Island audience.”
Newall and his partner Ingrid Lundgren relocated temporarily to the Island at the beginning of the pandemic; both have worked in the international art world for many years. The pandemic forced them to look at their respective careers in a new light.
“We found ourselves living on Martha’s Vineyard in March,” says Newall. “By the second or third month, we were itchy for a project. For us it’s been a huge silver lining to the whole situation. More than anything we’ve sort of shattered our preconceptions of how we live and work. After living in New York for close to a decade and working in galleries and auction houses, we’ve found a different kind of exciting energy here.”
Currently the new gallery is exhibiting two distinct shows. “Secret Storm” features work by eight artists of renown, including Philip Guston and David Byrd. As described on the gallery’s website, “The show encompasses artworks of a personal nature, oftentimes evocative or highly individualized experiences.” Newall describes some of the work (which includes paintings, drawings, photography, and mixed media) as diaristic in nature. “The starting point of the exhibition was thinking about works of a personal nature,” he says. “These are pieces that speak to an individualized experience or an unusual perspective on the world. Some have a supernatural or cosmic element to them. I tried to think of artists who I have followed who fit inside this concept.”
Newall, who has built many connections throughout his career, curated the show. “I was lucky to have garnered the support of the participating artists, and I was fortunate to have connections with galleries, foundations, and estates to have access to these pieces. Many of the galleries we’re collaborating with are New York–based. Some are in the U.K., others in L.A. I’ve also been working with a gallery in Paris. The reach is fairly international.”
The other exhibit, “Vol. I,” includes work by young artists, a handful of whom are Vineyarders. As described on the website, “Vol. I is an inclusive submission-based exhibition, and is accompanied by a rotating selection of works viewable in person.” All of the work is featured on the gallery’s website, while a few at a time will be on view at the gallery.
“A lot of the artists are locally based,” says Lundgren. “The Island has been incredibly good to me. This has been an opportunity for us to engage with the artists on the Vineyard.” The co-owners are also giving preference to local collectors interested in purchasing some of the most desirable pieces by hot young artists from all over the country.
Among the work by local artists in the “Vol. I” show are black-and-white photographs by Libby Ellis, photographs by Ray Ewing, decorative ceramics by Gordon Moore, and colorful glass bead mosaics by Nate Luce.
Furthering the local connection, the gallerists are splitting almost all of the proceeds from the works from “Vol. I” between the artists and local nonprofits. “We wanted to engage more by giving back to the community,” says Lundgren, who has a strong connection to the Island. Her mother is a full-time, year-round resident, her father is a seasonal resident, and she has been coming to the Vineyard since her childhood.
After years of involvement in the international art world and living in New York, the couple are finding Island life very rewarding. “We both have been working at major New York galleries where the business model involves constant travel,” says Newall. “It’s defined our working life. We discovered, as the world kind of ground to a halt, that there were these amazing things to be found right at our doorstep. We decided that this was the right moment to try to embrace that.”
As for what the two art professionals plan to do once their one-year lease is up, Newall says, “I think the mantra is, as long as there’s an audience for what we’re doing, we’ll continue. Based on the response to the two exhibitions that we’ve done so far, we’ve really been overwhelmed by the local response and through our international network.”
Winter Street Gallery, 22 Winter St., Edgartown. 401-602-1702; winterstreetgallery.com.