In April 1996, when CELLspace was conceived, the entry into the 10,000 square foot Mission warehouse was set aside for a gallery. Very early in the demolition of hung ceilings, shag carpets and fake wood paneling, a plaque was found revealing the original use of the building. Built in the 1920s, The Crucible Steel Factory operated out of the site, fabricating steel beams used to construct the Colorado Dam. Thus Crucible Steel Gallery was born.
In the first year, the Crucible Steel Gallery was managed and curated by Kevin Woodson, an illustrator who also operated a business out of the Studios. He curated shows including artists Larnie Fox, Tom Atkins, and he organized group shows such as the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition Bike Art show and an exhibition of handmade maps called The People's Atlas.
In the summer of 1997, the gallery became collectively run, in line with the mission of CELLspace. The Gallery Cluster was made up of artists Whitney Combs, Alex Van Praagh, Karl Seifert, Lani Asher, and Kevin Woodson. The office of CELLspace was moved, expanding the gallery. A review process was created to curate new shows called Show and Tell, which is still in place today. Held twice a year, the Show and Tell workshop invites artists to come to CELLspace, speak about their artwork and submit a proposal for a future show. Exhibitions are created based on the attendance of the workshop.
The first season of the collectively run gallery featured solo shows by Elizabeth Yarbourgh, Steve Raspa, and Andre Rosen. Lani Asher curated a show of artwork by women who work with prison inmates, and Ally Chagi curated a show of artwork made by the Art and Revolution collective. One of the first group shows featured painters Adam Myers and Elizabeth Selna and photographer Heather Johnson. After a very successful show, Adam and Heather joined the Gallery Cluster and began to curate shows in the gallery.
After the second Show and Tell workshop, it became clear that not every artist who participated in the workshop could get a show in the gallery. The numbers of applicants had risen dramatically. At the second Show and Tell, Karl Seifert, the documentary photographer of Crucible Steel gallery, offered inexpensive photography of artwork, and arts organizations such as California Lawyers for the Arts, ArtHouse, and GenArt set up tables and promoted their services. Building exhibits based on the attendants of the workshop began to define Crucible Steel Gallery as a unique and exciting place to show and review artwork. Shows were increased to three weeks.
Charles Gadeken installed a 40 ft. painting in the space, exhibited like a tent. Viewers were invited to add to the artwork, which was burned at Burning Man. Whitney Combs and Ellen Ferwerd curated a group show called Busted with artwork related to the female bust.
After the Show and Tell process began to become less important, and Gallery Cluster members began to transition, the gallery went through a phase of ad hoc shows. Many events producers used the space to hang artwork during their shows, while guest curators brought unique one-off exhbits to the gallery. In 2004, long-time CELLspace volunteer Russell Howze curated Negative Spaces, the first international stencil exhbit in the USA. In 2008, the Cardboard Institute of Technology staged their month-long, multi-exhibit spectacle Cardburg.
In 2009 Crucible Steel Gallery changed its name to CELLspace Gallery. A new wave of studio artists came together to revive the CELLspace Gallery with Spacecraft, a monthly group art show & performances consisting of Cellspace's very own studio artists, Project 2048 artists, and guest artists.
The first Spacecraft show consisted work by Corey Best, Richard Castaneda, Eran Dayan, Jon Fisher, Michelle Guintu, Henry Kitchen, Francisca Ribeiro, Beth Waldman, and Sherry Wong; with performances by Dandelion Dancetheater and music by Trip Trap. In addition to Spacecraft, Project 2048 artists have the opportunity to present their work as a solo show.
Although the gallery has changed its name, it is still run by a group of dedicated volunteers and studio members who meet regularly to discuss upcoming exhibitions, new projects and improvements to the space. These CELLspace members/volunteers make up the review committee, curate the exhibitions, maintain and run the gallery.
E-mail email@example.com for info. There are several ways you can potentially show work in the gallery. You can submit a proposal for a show, give us your information to consider for future group shows, or we can put you on our contact list for call for entries. We show primarily bay area artists working in drawing, painting, printmaking, photography, sculpture, installations, mixed media, and video. We do not offer solo shows because we wish to give more artists opportunities to show work.