The Houses

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The ‘properties’ in the Small House Gallery family:


SMALL HOUSE GALLERY ONE

Interior and exterior dimensions:

Scale of dolls house is 1:12. There is flexible mains electric lighting fitted throughout = 3 x swivel spotlights per floor (12v)


We expanded our family of Small House Galleries over the Winter lockdown of 2019/20. Small House Two is the same as Small House Gallery One (the iconic original) but with the addition of a lower ground (basement) floor and the possibility of improvising a fifth level on the roof ‘terrace’.

We have also unexpectedly acquired a vintage handmade designer-pimped dolls house that we are calling Small House Cottage, which is actually the largest of the three houses, with two storeys, 8 bedrooms, generously proportioned stairwells and landings, two chimney-breasts, a built-in kitchen, large-print wallpaper and a patterned carpeting. There is no lighting installed yet, and there might never be lighting for this house… It would suit work that can handle a certain kind of experimental approach to its display.

(Scroll for pictures and dimensions of the new ‘acquisitions’ further down the page.)

Small House Gallery One & Small House Two are on display in the family kitchen of a private residence in South London, and for the moment is only viewable online (unless you happen to be a member of the family or a close family friend).

Small House Cottage in on TOUR around the UK!

  • Spring 2022: Northumberland for the Small House North East co-curation project with Karen Melvin.
  • Summer 2022: Whitstable for our Annie Taylor’s 3 month long show in the window of her ‘Whitstable Tail‘ studio and for the Whitstable Biennale Satellite.
  • Autumn 2022 and beyond: a new gallery in Grimsby (North East Lincolnshire) in the care of our October 2022 artist Dale Christopher Wells!

Small House Garage (aka Mac’s Garage) has gone back to the original owner so we’ve taken down all reference to it here, but you can see it on the Small House North East project page and at the bottom of the page for the Big Small Summer Open.


SMALL HOUSE TWO

– with its additional lower ground floor / basement:

(Above) Left: Small House Two having just been renovated with indoor lighting and a ‘stucco’ frontage (or perhaps it’s painted ‘pebble-dashing’?) It came with a black painted roof – that paiont was impossible to remove, so we went with it. We’ve kept the rubber wood-trim unpainted.

Right: Small House Two interiors, shown in full colour, with 6″ x 6″ paintings on paper by Edori Fertig (Meditations in Blue, 2021) in the top three floors, and furnished as a lobby / reception area in the lower ground floor extension.

(Above) Left: ‘God’s Eye View’ of the Small House Two basement annex (pre-renovations); Right: Front elevation view of the lower ground floor of Small House Two (ditto) and the site office (before the ‘decorators and electricians’ arrived).


SMALL HOUSE COTTAGE

Not as small as the title would suggest:

The Cottage in Northumberland in the garden of Karen Melvin for her show ‘Offcuts: Homing In’ as part of our co-curation project Small House North East, Spring 2022

Small House Cottage is a large vintage hand-built double-fronted two-storey dolls house. It is not wired for mains lighting. It has 10-11 rooms, comprising a built-in kitchen, a large living room/ lounge that spans across to both sides of the Cottage, 4-5 bedrooms (one was probably a bathroom at some point), and 2x self contained areas for the stairs. It came ready-pimped, restored and decorated with designer wallpaper that in the context of a dolls house become large scale murals, for which some of the rooms are named.

Works are shown in all these spaces (or outside them, in the case of Claudia Sacher’s ‘Yvette’s People’).

Artists can rename the rooms according to the logic of their world within the Cottage, but for purposes of simple description we have:

  • The Rose Room
  • The Crane Room
  • The Stripey Room
  • The Zodiac Room
  • The Lemur Room
  • The Grey Room
  • The Kitchen
  • The Living room (or Lounge, or Parlour, or whatever it’s called in your world) sides 1 & 2
  • Hallways 1 & 2 (or: The Lobby and The Upstairs Landing)

Preliminary floor plans for Small House Cottage:

The Cottage went on tour to Northumberland from March through May 2022 for Karen Melvin’s show ‘Offcuts: Homing In’ as part of our 3-month-long co-curation collaboration: SMALL HOUSE NORTH EAST.

From June through August 2022, it will be touring to Whitstable for an exhibition by Annie Taylor of Whitstable Tail fame for her installation of ‘Fitcher’s Vogel’ in the Cottage which will be part of Whitstable Biennale Satellite in June.

linktr.ee/whitstabletail / whitstabletail.wordpress.com / insta: @whitstabletail

As of Autumn 2022, Dale Christopher Wells * will take possession of the Cottage for his October exhibition ‘Sackgassen’, displaying it in his own gallery in Grimsby, where he will co-curate future Small House Cottage shows for the foreseeable. An exciting prospect!

* Artists opting to site their work within the Cottage will be able to post their work to Dale in his North East Lincolnshire gallery, to be displayed between his own gallery’s scheduled shows. People will have multiple opportunities to view Small House Cottage in person, if they’re in the Grimsby/ Hull/ North East Lincolnshire area.


FAQs

Q. Are there any fees for submitting or exhibiting?

A. We truly wanted to keep the project completely free to artists, and we managed to do so for the first 6 months of Small House’s lockdown revival.*

But we can no longer afford to offer this opportunity for free. We just can’t. We either charge a nominal fee (asking for tips/donations didn’t work) or we shut it down. We’re trying to get to the point where we’re attractive enough to arts funding bodies, or for corporate sponsorship, or ‘something’, but we’re not there yet, partly because we refuse to commit to pigeonhole the project into existing only to serve one area of the UK, or one demographic or cause (which rules us out of Arts Council Funding). The completely free model we were operating under during the first couple of Covid lockdowns is unsustainable now; we’re just too far out of pocket for the the time, care, attention to detail, and unpaid labour, the wholly self funded purchases of parts/equipment/materials required to maintain even just the physical ‘buildings,’ not to mention the upkeep of the online stuff which is integral to the project’s survival.

So we’re charging a nominal fee for applying and a nominal amount to exhibit with us if the show is selected. We want to keep it down to a really fair and ridiculously accessible amount, but we do ask that if you can afford to give more, that you please do so generously.

FEES:
£5.00 to SUBMIT a PROPOSAL for a show.**
£25.00 (minimum) if SELECTED.


IF YOU CAN AFFORD TO PAY MORE, PLEASE DO.

  • Any additional money can then go towards helping another artist exhibit with us.
  • It helps keep the project afloat, operate more smoothly for longer, and less precariously.
  • We’re leaving it to you to decide what amount ‘more’ comes to.

We’re not trying to profit from artists. We’re trying to survive, while offering this service as a passion project. We want to keep art everyday and accessible, and to connect with other artists around the world during the Pandemic and possibly beyond, promoting artists’ work to new audiences, exposing them to new opportunities.

We’re trusting people not to take advantage of our good intentions for this low-fee ‘honour system’ structure, but some people dishearteningly do. Please be cool and on board with the social contract here if you are going to submit and/or are offered a show.

*(The project started in 2016, but it was more of a personal project in the early days – open only to artist friends. And then there was a hiatus of a few years before a relaunch during Covid.)

**(Additional donations/ tips will always be appreciated – they rarely happen but they definitely help when they do! We have never come anywhere near to ‘breaking even’ in terms of personal financial and temporal outlay. We went from 3 shows a month for 6 months unpaid, to one show a month rather than closing it down.)

Q. Do you take commission on artwork sales?

A. If you are lucky enough to sell any of the works through us or as a result of your Small House Gallery exhibition, we would appreciate a commission of 30% for that/those sale/s. If a sale comes through to you and the buyer mentions having seen it on our website or social media platforms, we would be really chuffed if you would honour that arrangement, but we cannot and would not want to enforce such a thing. It’s really just a nominal courtesy, and would help towards the heaps of admin that go into this project, and all the other running costs that put us out of pocket otherwise.

When Small House Cottage is being co-curated, we propose to split that 30% 50/50 with the outside curator.

Q. Is there a deadline for submissions?

A. At the moment there is no deadline for submitting.

We are unable to take submissions for solo shows at the is time.

We are booked solid until February 2023. If we do open up again for fresh submissions, we’ll announce it here as well as on Curator Space and via the socials. Send us a message via any of our channels if you want to be kept informed. (We haven’t started a formal newsletter or anything, but if we do, let us know if you want to be added to the mailing list.)

Q. Where is Small House Gallery based?

A. Mainly, it’s based in the online sphere. But for purposes of sending your work and viewing it, currently it’s in a domestic setting in South London (UK), off the tube line, but well-served by loads of buses and a near to handful of overland train stations. It occasionally will travel to other exhibition spaces at the invitation of curators for group shows and open house events, or for co-curation projects with other Small House artists around the UK. You will be informed in advance if the Small House will be exhibited in another 3D space during your show’s proposed timeline, or if an opportunity to show in another gallery arises while your work is being shown; it will not be moved to another location without your knowledge and explicit consent.

Q. I am an artist based abroad. I am interested in sending a proposal for the Small House Gallery. Do you accept proposals if the work is shipped? Or must the artist be present and install the work?

A. Yes, absolutely, if you can make sure all shipping and customs costs (including insurance) are covered. And if you have definite installing needs and send clear instructions with your initial proposal and even more explicit instructions with the shipped work, then you shouldn’t need to be present.

Not currently taking submissions for solo shows due to lack of funding.

Q. I want to show video(s) in the Small House. Do you have projectors, tablets or phones I could use for my exhibition?

A. Unfortunately, at this time, we do not. Artists need to supply their own equipment for showing video*, and to ensure that they are in good working order for the initial shoot, at the very least. Since the show lives predominantly online, this may be enough time to secure your show in viewers’ imaginations, and on the website for posterity, even if the physical ‘real life’ show can’t be sustained for longer than that due to lack of handheld screens or whatever. You can perhaps source devices from sites like Gumtree, or a local neighbourhood network (ie. the Next Door App), or borrow from friends and relatives, or even try to secure a loan or sponsorship from one of the makers or suppliers of the devices themselves. If it’s just for a limited time period, it’s not unheard of. There may also be the possibility of finding a/v equipment in an online swap shop forum, lending library or hiring club — these definitely do exist out there for borrowing/hiring/renting art-making tools and film-making equipment. You’d have to meet certain criteria – invigilation, security, insurance – but it’s doable. (For example, if you’re in Wales, you could try artsconnection.org.uk. For London there’s fatllama.com/.)

*(We can only accept digital equipment if you are sending it by domestic post from within the UK now, due to extortionate import charges we’re still waiting to be reimbursed for by HM Revenues and Customs.)

Q: Do I have to post my work to you? Can’t I just send digital files for you to upload them to the website?

A. You can only send digital files as supporting documentation for your application and for us to use as promotional material for your show, but the physical works need to get here to be installed in the house(s).

Even if the work is digital in nature, decide how it’s to be shown – prints? video? other? then send the physical works, and if necessary, the means to show them as you wish them to be viewed. You can also send your small screen devices such as old mobile/cell phones, or mini projectors, or whatever it is to show digital works with (but not if sending from overseas – see above question).

Any devices or equipment need to fit in the Small House spaces or be physically attached to the house somehow without damaging the structure.

We cannot provide small-screen devices or mini-projectors to show your work for you.** Maybe at some point in the future, if we are able to get sponsorship or a grant this will change and we’ll be able to purchase something along those lines(?) but for now, it’s a ‘nope’. If anything changes in that regards, we will announce it here.

**(We have done this once, but only because we were lent a projector for a certain period by an artist who had just showed with us, and we were able to offer an overseas artist a show of projected works when his physical show fell through due to extenuating circumstances, and the timings of the two exhibitions happened to coincide.)

Q. Can I send digital files to you for you to print out, do I need to print them myself and post hardcopies to you?

A. As we are not a funded gallery, we can’t afford to pay to print out copies of the works from files you send us. If you send us money to cover it (plus fees for time and labour involved in finding printers for you and organising deliveries) then perhaps we can help out, but it’s definitely preferable that you do all that admin and legwork and just post the finished product to the gallery.

Q. I can’t afford the submission fees, or the printing of my work, or the postage/insurance/customs taxes to get my work to you. Can I still apply?

A. Right now we are are not accepting proposals for solo shows, but if this changes in future:

If there is a financial need barring you from participating, get in touch, and if we have enough support from other artists’ contributions to cover costs for you, we will do our best to help. Unfortunately at the moment we have no funding and there aren’t enough artist contributions to cover running costs, but this might change.

If you have any questions, concerns or requests, you can get in touch >>>>here<<<<.

Q. Will there be a preview and closing party for my Small House Gallery exhibition?

A. Not at this time, sorry. If this changes, you will be informed and announcements made.

Q. How long will the Small House Project be going on for?

A. For as long as it lasts. Several months, maybe a few years, we’ll see! It depends on how long we can sustain it as a self funded venture, or whether we are able to secure financial support through collaborative sponsorship or a grant of some kind.

UPDATE: Until January 2022 (unless we are able to get funding). Check back in October/November 2021 to see if we are accepting applications for shows in the New Year (2022)

UPDATE 2: We will now be able to show one artist per month from September 2021 until September 2022. But the calendar is already fully booked. If someone drops out, we may publish a call out (if we don’t already have someone in mind for that spot).

Q. I want to propose an intervention that could destroy the surfaces or integral structure of the Small House Gallery. Would that be accepted?

A. Destruction of the Small House Gallery would be a very undesirable and upsetting outcome, and is therefore is highly discouraged. All damages would need to be paid for and made good again by you, and could result in your having to foot the bill for it being expertly remade to a high enough standard from scratch (then repainted and re-wired properly) which would not be cheap. Replacing the house alone costs between £600 and £1500 (depending on if it’s Small House Gallery One or Small House Two, and that’s not counting the electrics and decor, materials and labour.
Some interventions, however, might be open for consideration as long as they do not risk or cause permanent damage to the surfaces or structure of the Small House Gallery, or if they do risk, imply or intend permanent damage or destruction, contractual assurances would need to be agreed with regards to costs of making good again, or replacing and re-fitting/decorating to a high standard the gallery so that it is restored to exactly the state it was in before the application was submitted and agreed. The cost of which would be determined as and when such a proposal is submitted and accepted by Small House Gallery, and if the terms are agreeable to you, we’ve got ourselves a show.
(Looking at you, Rachel Whiteread, Richard Wilson, Cornelia Parker.)

UPDATE – since we are not taking proposals at the moment, it’s best to strike all the above waffle out… But someday, maybe Rachel Whiteread or Cornelia Parker will want to do something extraordinarily small with us. You never know…

Further questions? Get in touch.

Socials / Fb @SmallHouseGallery / insta @small_house_gallery / twit @Small_House_G_ 

Protection, Eldi Dundee, SHG wrapped in yoga mats and recycled bakers twine, Guest Projects, with AltMFA, May 2017.