You may not be aware of it yet, but the largest private art gallery in Portugal can be found in Lagoa – revolutionising “empty space” in the town’s ancient adega (winery). And this month, the gallery celebrates its first birthday with the exhibition ARTE ALGARVE OPEN V welcoming all.
In the 12 short months that it has been open, the avant-garde gallery with over 1,400 square metres of space has kick-started the careers of several new artists as well as featuring scores of the region’s well-known names and talents.
During the first few weeks of trading, an impressive number of pieces were sold – and the trend has continued as thousands of tourists and residents discover it and walk through the doors.
Brainchild of travel writer and art aficionado Rolf Osang, Galeria Arte Algarve developed on the wings of success of two Arte Algarve fairs, in 2009 and 2010.
Osang saw the only way to capitalise on people’s interest was to have a permanent art space … but success hasn’t come without a struggle.
One thing he has discovered is that it doesn’t matter how impressive the quality of work may be on display, recognition from “the establishment” (in Lisbon) is not won easily. “A large number of people in the capital seem to think the Algarve is part of Africa! It doesn’t matter how many times we write to them, telling them of our shows and events, they never cover any of them!
“It’s a real pity, as we have so many striking artists living in the extreme southwest of Europe – and there are plenty of art lovers willing to buy something spontaneously.”
Not one to give up without a fight, Osang is up for the long haul. His dream is to create a niche art market in the Algarve – encouraging artists and art lovers to holiday here and enjoy space in the adega for use as an art school.
In the meantime, the first year anniversary is the next big item on the agenda. This will be opening with the gallery’s fifth exhibition on Saturday June 23 at 4pm.
Everyone is welcome and there will be live music courtesy of Beto Kalulú – a riotous musician mixing Angolan, Portuguese and Brazilian music to create his own very infectious sounds.
“Arte Algarve Open V will showcase the work of popular Algarve artist Meinke Flesseman and be backed by paintings and sculptures from as many as 40 other artists and crafts people.
Other dates upcoming include the staging of the next Obrigado Portugal festival exhibition in the gallery in September, followed by the large group exhibition ARTE ALGARVE OPEN VI and a two-week Christmas art
market in December.
“We’ve had thousands of people through the doors since we opened a year ago,” said Rolf, “and we’re hoping for thousands more”.
Galeria Arte Algarve has a direct entrance from the EN125, in the middle of Lagoa. There is ample parking. It is open Monday to Friday, from 10am to 1pm and from 2pm to 6pm.
For more information, please call 968 067 607