A St. Louis arts organization is building new exhibit spaces to better showcase local, national and international exhibits.
Barrett Barrera Projects wants to give St. Louis art lovers easier access to traveling exhibits. The company, which owns projects+gallery, will open projects+exhibitions on Manchester Avenue on Saturday.
It also will move to a new office space and open a guest house for traveling artists and curators, both on McPherson Avenue in the Central West End.
“We needed a place to showcase these exhibitions so that other museums can come take a look at them as they are already put together,” Susan Barrett, president of Barrett Barrera Projects, said of the exhibitions space. “It's both a place where we can showcase our own exhibitions that we’re traveling as well as perhaps bringing other fashion exhibitions into St. Louis.”
Projects+exhibitions will showcase exhibits that debut in St. Louis before going on national and international tours.
The top two floors of the guest house will be used as a private residence for traveling artists and curators. The ground floor will be used to host private events and dinners.
“It's a way of incorporating contemporary art within some other spaces that are much more, I guess, traditional,” Barrett said. “It's to showcase how to live with art, how art enhances the experience, and to show that art is a verb.”
As projects+gallery has grown, so has its role in the St. Louis arts community, said Bridget Melloy, the gallery's senior director.
“Barrett Barrera has a much larger mission than our brick-and-mortar space here at projects+gallery,” Melloy said. “We honestly have outgrown projects+gallery, and we needed a place where we could showcase our touring and exhibitions.”
Projects+exhibitions will first feature work by French photographer Ann Ray and British designer Alexander McQueen.
Melloy said the organization aims to give local arts fans more access to national and regional exhibitions that typically do not come to St. Louis.
“I think we will want them to take away a feeling of, 'Wow, I can't believe this is in St. Louis,'” Melloy said. “Just this feeling of seeing an artist or seeing work, or an exhibition that they did, that is a little unexpected. They wouldn't anticipate seeing these artists or, you know, seeing high fashion in St. Louis.”
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